Part 4 out of 7
Ib. p. 26.
All Christians must confess, that there is no other name given under
heaven whereby men can be saved, but only the name of Christ.
Now this is a most awful question, on which depends whether Christ was
more than Socrates; for to bring God from heaven to reproclaim the Ten
Commandments, is 'too too' ridiculous. Need I say I incline to Sherlock?
But yet I cannot give to faith the meaning he does, though I give it
all, and more than all, the power. But if that Name, as power, saved the
Jewish Church before they knew the Name, as name, how much more now, if
only the will be not guiltily averse? Any miracle does in kind as truly
bring God from heaven as the Incarnation, which the Socinians wholly
forget, as in other points. They receive without scruple what they have
learned without examination, and then transfer to the first article
which they do look into, all the difficulties that belong equally to the
former: as the Simonidean doubts concerning God to the Trinity, and the
Ib. p. 27.
The Eclectic Neo-Platonists (Sallustius and others,) justified their
Polytheism on much the same pretext as is in fact involved in the
language of this page; [Greek: polloi men en de mia theotaeti]. This
indeed seems to me decisive in favour of Waterland's scheme against this
of Sherlock's;--namely, that in the latter we find no sufficient reason
why in the nature of things this intermutual consciousness might not be
possessed by thirty instead of three. It seems a strange confounding
[Greek: heteron geneon] to answer, "True; but the latter only happens to
be the fact!"--just as if we were speaking of the number of persons in
the Privy Council.
Ib. p. 28.
'Notes'. By keeping this faith 'whole and undefiled', must be meant
that a man should believe and profess it without adding to it or
taking from it. * * * First, for adding. What if an honest plain man,
because he is a Christian and a Protestant, should think it necessary
to add this article to the Athanasian Creed;--'I believe the Holy
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be a divine, infallible and
complete rule both for faith and manners'. I hope no Protestant would
think a man damned for such addition; and if so, then this Creed of
Athanasius is at least an unnecessary rule of faith.
'Answer'. That is to say, it is an addition to the Catholic Faith to
own the Scriptures to be the rule of faith; as if it were an addition
to the laws of England to own the original records of them in the
This Notary manages his cause most weakly, and Sherlock 'fibs' him like
a scientific pugilist. But he himself exposes weak parts, as in p. 27.
The objection to the Athanasian Creed urged by better men than the
Notary, yea, by divines not less orthodox than Sherlock himself, is
this: not that this Creed adds to the Scriptures, but that it adds to
the original 'Symbolum Fidei', the 'Regula', the 'Canon', by which,
according to the greater number of the 'ante'-Nicene Fathers, the books
of the New Testament were themselves tried and determined to be
Scripture. Now this 'Symbolum' was to bring together all that must be
believed, even by the babes in faith, or to what purpose was it made?
Now, say they, the Nicene Creed is really nothing more than a verbal
explication of the common Creed, but the clause in the Athanasian
('which faith', &c.), however fairly deduced from Scripture, is not
contained in the Creed, or selection of certain articles of Faith from
the Scriptures, or not at least from those preachings and narrations, of
which the New Testament Scriptures are the repository. Might not a
Papist plead equally in support of the Creed of Pope Pius: "The new
articles are deduced from Scripture; that is, in our opinion, and that
most expressly in our Lord's several and solemn addresses to St. Peter."
So again Sherlock's answer to this paragraph from the Notes is
evasive,--for it is very possible, nay, it is, and has been the case,
that a man may believe in the facts and doctrines contained in the New
Testament, and yet not believe the Holy Scripture to be either divine,
infallible, or complete.
Sect. IV. p. 50.
We know not what the substance of an infinite mind is, nor how such
substances as have no parts or extension can touch each other, or be
thus externally united; but we know the unity of a mind or spirit
reaches as far as its self-consciousness does, for that is one spirit,
which knows and feels itself, and its own thoughts and motions, and if
we mean this by 'circum-incession', three persons thus intimate to
each other are numerically one.
The question still returns; have these three infinite minds, at once
self-conscious and conscious of each other's consciousness, always the
very same thoughts? If so, this mutual consciousness is unmeaning, or
derivative; and the three do not cease to be three because they are
three sames. If not, then there is Tritheism evidently.
Ib. p. 64.
St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. ii. 10. 'That the Spirit searcheth all
things, yea the deep things of God'. So that the Holy Spirit knows all
that is in God, even his most deep and secret counsels, which is an
argument that he is very intimate with him; but this is not all: it is
the manner of knowing, which must prove this consciousness of which I
speak: and that the Apostle adds in the next verse, that the Spirit of
God knows all that is in God, just as the spirit of a man knows all
that is in man: that is, not by external revelation or communication
of this knowledge, but by self-consciousness, by an internal
sensation, which is owing to an essential unity. 'For what man knoweth
the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him; even so
the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God.'
It would be interesting, if it were feasible, to point out the epoch at
which the text mode of arguing in polemic controversy became
predominant; I mean by single texts without any modification by the
context. I suspect that it commenced, or rather that it first became the
fashion, under the Dort or systematic theologians, and during the so
called Quinquarticular Controversy. This quotation from St. Paul is a
striking instance:--for St. Paul is speaking of the holy spirit of which
true spiritual Christians are partakers, and by which or in which those
Christians are enabled to search all things, even the deep things of
God. No person is here spoken of, but reference is made to the
philosophic principle, that can only act immediately, that is,
interpenetratively, as two globules of quicksilver, and co-adunatively.
Now, perceiving and knowing were considered as immediate acts relatively
to the objects perceived and known:--'ergo', the 'principium sciendi'
must be one (that is, homogeneous or consubstantial) with the
'principium essendi quoad objectum cognitum'. In order therefore for a
man to understand, or even to know of, God, he must have a god-like
spirit communicated to him, wherewith, as with an inward eye, which is
both eye and light, he sees the spiritual truths. Now I have no
objection to his calling this spirit a 'person,' if only the term
'person' be so understood as to permit of its being partaken of by all
spiritual creatures, as light and the power of vision are partaken of by
all seeing ones. But it is too evident that Sherlock supposes the
Father, as Father, to possess a spirit, that is, an intellective
faculty, by which he knows the Spirit, that is, the third co-equal
Person; and that this Spirit, the Person, has a spirit, that is, an
intellective faculty, by which he knows the Father; and the 'Logos' in
like manner relatively to both. So too, the Father has a 'logos' with
which he distinguishes the 'Logos';--and the 'Logos' has a 'logos', and
so on: that is to say, there are three several though not severed triune
Gods, each being the same position three times 'realiter positum', as
three guineas from the same mint, supposing them to differ no more than
they appear to us to differ;--but whether a difference wholly and
exclusively numerical is a conceivable notion, except under the
predicament of space and time; whether it be not absurd to affirm it,
where interspace and interval cannot be affirmed without absurdity--this
is the question; or rather it is no question.
Ib. p. 68.
Nor do we divide the substance, but unite these three Persons in one
numerical essence: for we know nothing of the unity of the mind, but
self-consciousness, as I showed before; and therefore as the
self-consciousness of every Person to itself makes them distinct
Persons, so the mutual consciousness of all three divine Persons to
each other makes them all but one infinite God: as far as
consciousness reaches, so far the unity of a spirit extends, for we
know no other unity of a mind or spirit, but consciousness.
But this contradicts the preceding paragraph, in which the Father is
self-conscious that he is the Father and not the Son, and the Son that
he is not the Father, and that the Father is not he. Now how can the
Son's being conscious that the Father is conscious that he is not the
Son, constitute a numerical unity? And wherein can such a consciousness
as that attributed to the Son differ from absolute certainty? Is not God
conscious of every thought of man;--and would Sherlock allow me to
deduce the unity of the divine consciousness with the human? Sherlock's
is doubtless a very plain and intelligible account of three Gods in the
most absolute intimacy with each other, so that they are all as one; but
by no means of three persons that are one God. I do not wonder that
Waterland and the other followers of Bull were alarmed.
Ib. p. 72.
Even among men it is only knowledge that is power. Human power, and
human knowledge, as that signifies a knowledge how to do anything, are
commensurate; whatever human skill extends to, human power can effect:
nay, every man can do what he knows how to do, if he has proper
instruments and materials to do it with.
This proves that perfect knowledge supposes perfect power: and that they
are one and the same. "If he have proper instruments:"--does not this
show that the means are supposed co-present with the knowledge, not the
same with it?
For it is nothing but thought which moves our bodies, and all the
members of them, which are the immediate instruments of all human
force and power: excepting mechanical motions which do not depend upon
our wills, such as the motion of the heart, the circulation of the
blood, the concoction of our meat and the like. All voluntary motions
are not only directed but caused by thought: and so indeed it must be,
or there could be no motion in the world; for matter cannot move
itself, and therefore some mind must be the first mover, which makes
it very plain, that infinite truth and wisdom is infinite and almighty
Even this, though not ill-conceived, is inaccurately expressed.
Ib. p. 81.
There is no contradiction that three infinite minds should be
absolutely perfect in wisdom, goodness, justice and power; for these
are perfections which may be in more than one, as three men may all
know the same things, and be equally just and good: but three such
minds cannot be absolutely perfect without being mutually conscious to
each other, as they are to themselves.
Will any man in his senses affirm, that my knowledge is increased by
saying "all" three times following? Is it not mere repetition in time?
If the Son has thoughts which the Father, as the Father, could not have
but for his interpenetration of the Son's consciousness, then I can
understand it; but then these are not three Absolutes, but three modes
of perfection constituting one Absolute; and by what right Sherlock
could call the one Father, more than the other, I cannot see.
Ib. p. 88.
And yet if we consider these three divine Persons as containing each
other in themselves, and essentially one by a mutual consciousness,
this pretended contradiction vanishes: for then the Father is the one
true God, because the Father has the Son and the Holy Spirit in
himself: and the Son may he called the one true God, because the Son
has the Father and the Holy Ghost in himself, &c.
Nay, this is to my understanding three Gods, and Sherlock seems to have
brought in the material phantom of a thing or substance.
Ib. p. 97.
But if these three distinct Persons are not separated, but essentially
united unto one, each of them may be God, and all three but one God:
for if these three Persons,--each of whom [Greek: monadikos], as it is
in the Creed, singly by himself, not separately from the other divine
Persons, is God and Lord, are essentially united into one, there can
be but one God and one Lord; and how each of these persons is God, and
all of them but one God, by their mutual consciousness, I have already
--"That is,--if the three Persons are not three;"--so might the Arian
answer, unless Sherlock had shown the difference of separate and
distinct relatively to mind. "For what other separation can be conceived
in mind but distinction? Distinction may be joined with imperfection, as
ignorance, or forgetfulness; and so it is in men:--and if this be called
separation by a metaphor from bodies, then the conclusion would be that
in the Supreme Mind there is distinction without imperfection; and then
the question is, whence comes plurality of Persons? Can it be conceived
other than as the result of imperfection, that is, finiteness?
Ib. p. 98.
Thus each Divine Person is God, and all of them but the same one God;
as I explained it before.
O no! asserted it.
Ib. p. 98-9.
This one supreme God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, a Trinity in
Unity, three Persons and one God. Now Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
with all their divine attributes and perfections (excepting their
personal properties, which the Schools call the 'modi subsistendi',
that one is the Father, the other the Son, and the other the Holy
Ghost, which cannot be communicated to each other) are whole and
entire in each Person by a mutual consciousness; each feels the other
Persons in himself, all their essential wisdom, power, goodness,
justice, as he feels himself, and this makes them essentially one, as
I have proved at large.
Will not the Arian object, "You admit the 'modus subsistendi' to be a
divine perfection, and you affirm that it is incommunicable. Does it not
follow therefore, that there are perfections which the All-perfect does
not possess?" This would not apply to Bishop Bull or Waterland.
Sect. V. p. 102.
St. Austin in his sixth book of the Trinity takes notice of a common
argument used by the orthodox fathers against the Arians, to prove the
co-eternity of the Son with the Father, that if the Son be the Wisdom
and Power of God, as St. Paul teaches (1 'Cor'. i.) and God was never
without his Wisdom and Power, the Son must he co-eternal with the
Father. * * * But this acute Father discovers a great inconvenience in
this argument, for it forces us to say that the Father is not wise,
but by that Wisdom which he begot, not being himself Wisdom as the
Father: and then we must consider whether the Son himself, as he is
God of God, and Light of Light, may be said to be Wisdom of Wisdom, if
God the Father be not Wisdom, but only begets Wisdom.
The proper answer to Augustine is, that the Son and Holy Ghost are
necessary and essential, not contingent: and that 'his' argument has a
still greater inconvenience, as shewn in note p. 98.
Ib. pp. 110-113.
But what makes St. Gregory dispute thus nicely, and oppose the common
and ordinary forms of speech? Did he in good earnest believe that
there is but one man in the world? No, no! he acknowledged as many men
as we do; a great multitude who had the same human nature, and that
every one who had a human nature was an individual man, distinguished
and divided from all other individuals of the same nature. What makes
him so zealous then against saying, that Peter, James and John are
three men? Only this; that he says man is the name of nature, and
therefore to say there are three men is the same as to say, there are
three human natures of a different kind; for if there are three human
natures, they must differ from each other, or they cannot be three;
and so you deny Peter, James, and John to be [Greek: homoousioi], or
of the same nature; and for the same reason we must say that though
the Father be God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, yet there are
not three Gods, but [Greek: mia theotaes], one Godhead and Divinity.
Sherlock struggles in vain, in my opinion at least, to clear these
Fathers of egregious logomachy, whatever may have been the soundness of
their faith, spite of the quibbles by which they endeavoured to evince
its rationality. The very change of the terms is suspicious. "Yes! we
might say three Gods" (it would be answered,) "as we say and ought to
say three men: for man and humanity, [Greek: anthropos] and [Greek:
anthropotaes] are not the same terms;--so if the Father be God, the Son
God, and the Holy Ghost God, there would be three Gods, though not
[Greek: treis theotaetes],--that is, three Godheads."
Ib. p. 115-16.
Gregory Nyssen tells us that [Greek: theos] is [Greek: theataes] and
[Greek: ephoros], the inspector and governor of the world, that is, it
is a name of energy, operation and power; and if this virtue, energy,
and operation be the very same in all the Persons of the Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, then they are but one God, but one power
and energy. * * * The Father does nothing by himself, nor the Son by
himself, nor the Holy Ghost by himself; but the whole energy and
operation of the Deity relating to creatures begins with the Father,
passes to the Son, and from Father and Son to the Holy Spirit; the
Holy Spirit does not act anything separately; there are not three
distinct operations, as there are three Persons, [Greek: alla mia tis
ginetai agathou Boulaematos kinaesis kai diakosmaesis];--but one
motion and disposition of the good will, which passes through the
whole Trinity from Father to Son, and to the Holy Ghost, and this is
done [Greek: achronos kai adiaretos], without any distance of time, or
propagating the motion from one to the other, but by one thought, as
it is in one numerical mind and spirit, and therefore, though they are
three Persons, they are but one numerical power and energy.
But this is either Tritheism or Sabellianism; it is hard to say which.
Either the [Greek: Boulaema] subsists in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost,
and not merely passes through them, and then there would be three
numerical [Greek: Boulaemata], as well as three numerical Persons:
'ergo', [Greek: treis theoi ae theatai] (according to Gregory Nyssen's
shallow and disprovable etymology), which would be Tritheism: or [Greek:
hen ti ginetai Boulaema], and then the Son and Holy Ghost are but terms
of relation, which is Sabellianism. But in fact this Gregory and the
others were Tritheists in the mode of their conception, though they did
not wish to be so, and refused even to believe themselves such.
Gregory Nyssen, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus and Damascen were charged
with "a kind of Tritheism" by Petavius and Dr. Cudworth, who, according
to Sherlock, have "mistaken their meaning." See pp. 106-9, of this
Ib. p. 117.
For I leave any man to judge, whether this [Greek: mia kinaesis
Boulaematos], this one single motion of will, which is in the same
instant in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, can signify anything else but
a mutual consciousness, which makes them numerically one, and as
intimate to each other, as every man is to himself, as I have already
Is not God conscious to all my thoughts, though I am not conscious of
God's? Would Sherlock endure that I should infer: 'ergo', God is
numerically one with me, though I am not numerically one with God? I
have never seen, but greatly wish to see, Waterland's controversial
tracts against Sherlock. Again: according to Sherlock's conception, it
would seem to follow that we ought to make a triad of triads, or an
1. Father--Son--Holy Ghost.
2. Son--Father--Holy Ghost.
3. Holy Ghost--Son--Father.
Else there is an 'x' in the Father which is not in the Son, a 'y' in the
Son which is not in the Father, and a 'z' in the Holy Ghost which is in
neither: that is, each by himself is not total God.
Ib. p. 120.
But however he might be mistaken in his philosophy, he was not in his
divinity; for he asserts a numerical unity of the divine nature, not a
mere specific unity, which is nothing but a logical notion, nor a
collective unity, which is nothing but a company who are naturally
many: but a true subsisting numerical unity of nature; and if the
difficulty of explaining this, and his zeal to defend it, forced him
upon some unintelligible niceties, to prove that the same numerical
human nature too is but one in all men, it is hard to charge him with
teaching, that there are three independent and co-ordinate Gods,
because we think he has not proved that Peter, James, and John, are
but one man. This will make very foul work with the Fathers, if we
charge them with all those erroneous conceits about the Trinity, which
we can fancy in their inconvenient ways of explaining that venerable
mystery, especially when they compare that mysterious unity with any
So that after all this obscuration of the obscure, Sherlock ends by
fairly throwing up his briefs, and yet calls out, "Not guilty!
'Victoria'!" And what is this but to say: These Fathers did indeed
involve Tritheism in their mode of defending the Tri-personality; but
they were not Tritheists:--though it would be far more accurate to say,
that they were Tritheists, but not so as to make any practical breach of
the Unity;--as if, for instance, Peter, James, and John had three silver
tickets, by shewing one of which either or all three would have the same
thing as if they had shewn all three tickets, and 'vice versa', all
three tickets could produce no more than each one; each corresponding to
I am sure St. Gregory was so far from suspecting that he should be
charged with Tritheism upon this account, that he fences against
another charge of mixing and confounding the 'Hypostases' or Persons,
by denying any difference or diversity of nature, [Greek: hos ek tou
mae dechesthai taen kata physin diaphoran, mixin tina ton hypostaseon
kai anakuklaesin kataskeuzonta], which argues that he thought he had
so fully asserted the unity of the divine essence, that some might
suspect he had left but one Person, as well as one nature in God.
This is just what I have said, p. 116. Whether Sabellianism or
Tritheism, I observed is hard to determine. Extremes meet.
Ib. p. 121.
Secondly, to this 'homo-ousiotes' the Fathers added a numerical unity
of the divine essence. This Petavius has proved at large by numerous
testimonies, even from those very Fathers, whom he before accused for
making God only collectively one, as three men are one man; such as
Gregory Nyssen, St. Cyril, Maximus, Damascen; which is a
demonstration, that however 'he might mistake' their explication of
it, from the unity of human nature, they were far enough from
Tritheism, or one collective God.
This is most uncandid. Sherlock, even to be consistent with his own
confession, Sec. 1. p. 120, ought to have said, "However he might mistake
their 'intention', in consequence of their inconvenient and
unphilosophical explication;" which mistake, in fact, consisted in
taking them at their word.
Petavius greatly commends Boethius's explication of this mystery,
which is the very same he had before condemned in Gregory Nyssen, and
those other Fathers.--That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God,
not three Gods: 'hujus conjunctionis ratio est indifferentia': that
is, such a sameness of nature as admits of no difference or variety,
or an exact 'homo-ousiotes', as he explains it. * * Those make a
difference, who augment and diminish, as the Arians do; who
distinguish the Trinity into different natures, as well as Persons, of
different worth and excellency, and thus divide and multiply the
Trinity into a plurality of Gods. 'Principium enim pluralitatis
alteritas est. Praeter alteritatem enim nec pluralitas quid sit
Then if so, what becomes of the Persons? Have the Persons attributes
distinct from their nature;--or does not their common nature constitute
their common attributes? 'Principium enim, &c.'
Ib. p. 124.
That the Fathers universally acknowledged that the operation of the
whole Trinity, 'ad extra', is but one, Petavius has proved beyond all
contradiction; and hence they conclude the unity of the divine nature
and essence; for every nature has a virtue and energy of its own; for
nature is a principle of action, and if the energy and operation be
but one, there can be but one nature; and if there be two distinct and
divided operations, if either of them can act alone without the other,
there must be two divided natures.
Then it was not the Son but the whole Trinity that was crucified: for
surely this was an operation 'ad extra'.
Ib. p. 126.
But to do St. Austin right, though he do not name this consciousness,
yet he explains this Trinity in Unity by examples of mutual
consciousness. I named one of his similitudes before, of the unity of
our understanding, memory, and will, 'which' are all conscious to each
other; that we remember what we understand and will; we understand
what we remember and will; and what we will we remember and
understand; and therefore all these three faculties do penetrate and
comprehend each other.
'Which'! The 'man' is self-conscious alike when he remembers, wills, and
understands; but in what sense is the generic term "memory" conscious to
the generic word "will?" This is mere nonsense. Are memory,
understanding, and volition persons,--self-subsistents? If not, what are
they to the purpose? Who doubts that Jehovah is consciously powerful,
consciously wise, consciously good; and that it is the same Jehovah, who
in being omnipotent, is good and wise; in being wise, omnipotent and
good; in being good, is wise and omnipotent? But what has all this to do
with a distinction of Persons? Instead of one Tri-unity we might have a
mille-unity. The fact is, that Sherlock, and (for aught I know) Gregory
Nyssen, had not the clear idea of the Trinity, positively; but only a
Ib. p. 127.
He proceeds to shew that this unity is without all manner of confusion
and mixture, * * for the mind that loves, is in the love. * * * And
the knowledge of the mind which knows and loves itself, is in the
mind, and in its love, because it loves itself, knowing, and knows
itself loving: and thus also two are in each, for the mind which knows
and loves itself, with its knowledge is in love, and with its love is
Then why do we make tri-personality in unity peculiar to God?
The doctrine of the Trinity (the foundation of all rational theology, no
less than the precondition and ground of the rational possibility of the
Christian Faith, that is, the Incarnation and Redemption), rests
securely on the position,--that in man 'omni actioni praeit sua propria
passio; Deus autem est actus purissimus sine ulla potentialitate'. As
the tune produced between the breeze and Eolian harp is not a
self-subsistent, so neither memory, nor understanding, nor even love in
man: for he is a passive as well as active being: he is a patible agent.
But in God this is not so. Whatever is necessarily of him, (God of God,
Light of Light), is necessarily all act; therefore necessarily
self-subsistent, though not necessarily self-originated. This then is
the true mystery, because the true unique; that the Son of God has
origination without passion, that is, without ceasing to be a pure act:
while a created entity is, as far as it is merely creaturely and
distinguishable from the Creator, a mere 'passio' or recipient. This
unicity we strive, not to 'express', for that is impossible; but to
designate, by the nearest, though inadequate, analogy,--'Begotten'.
Ib. p. 133.
As for the Holy Ghost, whose nature is represented to be love, I do
not indeed find in Scripture that it is any where said, that the Holy
Ghost is that mutual love, wherewith Father and Son love each other:
but this we know, that there is a mutual love between Father and Son:
'the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his
hands'.--John iii. 35. 'And the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him
all things that himself doeth'.-John v. 20; and our Saviour himself
tells us, 'I love the Father'.--John xiv. 31. And I shewed before,
that love is a distinct act, 'and therefore in God must be a person:
for there are no accidents nor faculties in God.'
This most important, nay, fundamental truth, so familiar to the elder
philosophy, and so strongly and distinctly enunciated by Philo Judaeus,
the senior and contemporary of the Evangelists, is to our modern divines
darkness and a sound.
Sect. VI. pp. 147-8.
Yes; you'll say, that there should be three Persons, each of which is
God, and yet but one God, is a contradiction: but what principle of
natural reason does it contradict?
Surely never did argument vertiginate more! I had just acceded to
Sherlock's exposition of the Trinity, as the Supreme Being, his reflex
act of self-consciousness and his love, all forming one supreme mind;
and now he tells me, that each is the whole Supreme Mind, and denies
that three, each 'per se' the whole God, are not the same as three Gods!
I grant that division and separation are terms inapplicable, yet surely
three distinct though undivided Gods, are three Gods. That the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, are the one true God, I fully believe; but not
Sherlock's exposition of the doctrine. Nay, I think it would have been
far better to have worded the mystery thus:--The Father together with
his Son and Spirit, is the one true God.
"Each 'per se' God." This is the [Greek: proton mega pseudos] of
Sherlock's scheme. Each of the three is whole God, because neither is,
or can be 'per se'; the Father himself being 'a se', but not 'per se'.
Ib. p. 149.
For it is demonstrable that if there be three Persons and one God,
each Person must be God, and yet there cannot be three distinct Gods,
but one. For if each Person be not God, all three cannot be God,
unless the Godhead have Persons in it which are not God.
Three persons having the same nature are three persons;--and if to
possess without limitation the divine nature, as opposed to the human,
is what we mean by God, why then three such persons are three Gods, and
will bethought so, till Gregory Nyssen can persuade us that John, James,
and Peter, each possessing the human nature, are not three men. John is
a man, James is a man, and Peter is a man: but they are not three men,
but one man!
Ib. p. 150.
I affirm, that natural reason is not the rule and measure of
expounding Scripture, no more than it is of expounding any other
writing. The true and only way to interpret any writing, even the
Scriptures themselves, is to examine the use and propriety of words
and phrases, the connexion, scope, and design of the text, its
allusion to ancient customs and usages, or disputes. For there is no
other good reason to be given for any exposition, but that the words
signify so, and the circumstances of the place, and the apparent scope
of the writer require it.
This and the following paragraph are excellent. 'O si sic omnia'!
Ib. p. 153.
Reconcile men to the doctrine (of the Trinity), and the Scripture is
plain without any farther comment. This I have now endeavoured; and I
believe our adversaries will talk more sparingly of absurdities and
contradictions for the future, and they will lose the best argument
they have against the orthodox expositions of Scripture.
Good doctor! you sadly over-rated both your own powers, and the docility
of your adversaries. If so clear a head and so zealous a Trinitarian as
Dr. Waterland could not digest your exposition, or acquit it of
Tritheism, little hope is there of finding the Unitarians more
Ib. p. 154.
Though Christ be God himself, yet if there be three Persons in the
Godhead, the equality and sameness of nature does not destroy the
subordination of Persons: a Son is equal to his Father by nature, but
inferior to him as his Son: if the Father, as I have explained it, be
original mind and wisdom, the Son a personal, subsisting, but reflex
image of his Father's wisdom, though their eternal wisdom be equal and
the same, yet the original is superior to the image, the Father to the
But why? We men deem it so, because the image is but a shadow, and not
equal to the original; but if it were the same in all perfections, how
could that, which is exactly the same, be less? Again, God is all
Being:--consequently there can nothing be added to the idea, except what
implies a negation or diminution of it. If one and the same Being is
equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead, but inferior as man; then
it is + 'm-x', which is not = + 'm'. But of two men I may say, that they
are equal to each other. A. = + courage-wisdom. B. = + wisdom-courage.
Both wise and courageous; but A. inferior in wisdom, B. in courage. But
God is all-perfect.
Ib. p. 156.
So born before all creatures, as [Greek: prototokos] also signifies,
'that by him were all things created'.
'All things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all
things', (which is the explication of [Greek: portotokos pasaes
ktiseos], begotten before the whole creation', and therefore no part
of the creation himself.)
This is quite right. Our version should here be corrected. [Greek:
Proto] or [Greek: protaton] is here an intense comparative,--'infinitely
Ib. p. 159.
That he 'being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God', &c.--Phil. ii. 8, 9.
I should be inclined to adopt an interpretation of the unusual phrase
[Greek: harpagmon] somewhat different both from the Socinian and the
Church version:--"who being in the form of God did not 'think equality
with God a thing to be seized with violence', but made, &c."
Ib. p. 160.
Is a mere creature a fit lieutenant or representative of God in
personal or prerogative acts of government and power? Must not every
being be represented by one of his own kind, a man by a man, an angel
by an angel, in such acts as are proper to their natures? and must not
God then be represented by one who is God? Is any creature capable of
the government of the world? Does not this require infinite wisdom and
infinite power? And can God communicate infinite wisdom and infinite
power to a creature or a finite nature? That is, can a creature be
made a true and essential God?
This is sound reasoning. It is to be regretted that Sherlock had not
confined himself to logical comments on the Scripture, instead of
attempting metaphysical solutions.
Ib. pp. 161-3.
I find little or nothing to 'object to' in this exposition, from pp.
161-163 inclusively, of 'Phil'. ii. 8, 9. And yet I seem to feel, as if
a something that should have been prefixed, and to which all these
considerations would have been excellent seconds, were missing. To
explain the Cross by the necessity of sacrificial blood, and the
sacrificial blood as a type and 'ante'-delegate or pre-substitute of the
Cross, is too like an 'argumentum in circulo'.
Ib. p. 164.
And though Christ be the eternal Son of God, and the natural Lord and
heir of all things, yet 'God hath' in this 'highly exalted him' and
given 'him a name which is above every name, that at' (or in [Greek:
en]) 'the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven',
&c.--Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11.
Never was a sublime passage more debased than by this rendering of
[Greek: en] by 'at', instead of 'in';--'at' the 'phenomenon', instead of
'in' the 'noumenon'. For such is the force of 'nomen', name, in this and
similar passages, namely, 'in vera et substantiali potestate Jesu': that
is, [Greek: en logo kai dia logou], the true 'noumenon' or 'ens
intelligibile' of Christ. To bow at hearing the 'cognomen' may become a
universal, but it is still only a non-essential, consequence of the
former. But the debasement of the idea is not the worst evil of this
false rendering;--it has afforded the pretext and authority for
Ib. p. 168.
'The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the
Son'.--John v. 22. Should the Father judge the world he 'must' judge
as the maker and sovereign of the world, by the strict rules of
righteousness and justice, and then how could any sinner be saved?
(Why? Is mercy incompatible with righteousness? How then can the Son be
But he has committed judgment to the Son, as a mediatory king, who
judges by the equity and chancery of the Gospel.
This article required exposition incomparably more than the simple
doctrine of the Trinity, plain and evident 'simplici intuitu', and
rendered obscure only by diverting the mental vision by terms drawn from
matter and multitude. In the Trinity all the 'Hows'? may and should be
answered by 'Look'! just as a wise tutor would do in stating the fact of
a double or treble motion, as of a ball rolling north ward on the deck
of a ship sailing south, while the earth is turning from west to east.
And in like manner, that is, 'per intuitum intellectualem', must all the
mysteries of faith be contemplated;--they are intelligible 'per se',
not discursively and 'per analogiam'. For the truths are unique, and may
have shadows and types, but no analogies. At this moment I have no
intuition, no intellectual diagram, of this article of the commission of
all judgment to the Son, and therefore a multitude of plausible
objections present themselves, which I cannot solve--nor do I expect to
solve them till by faith I see the thing itself.--Is not mercy an
attribute of the Deity, as Deity, and not exclusively of the Person of
the Son? And is not the authorizing another to judge by equity and mercy
the same as judging so ourselves? If the Father can do the former, why
not the latter?
Ib. p. 171.
And therefore now it is given him to have life in himself, as the
Father hath life in himself, as the original fountain of all life, by
whom the Son himself lives: all life is derived from God, either by
eternal generation, or procession, or creation; and thus Christ hath
life in himself also; to the new creation he is the fountain of life:
'he quickeneth whom he will'.
The truths which hitherto had been metaphysical, then began to be
historical. The Eternal was to be manifested in time. Hence Christ came
with signs and wonders; that is, the absolute, or the anterior to cause
and effect, manifested itself as a 'phenomenon' in time, but with the
predicates of eternity;--and this is the only possible definition of a
miracle 'in re ipsa', and not merely 'ad hominem', or 'ad ignorantiam'.
Ib. p. 177.
His next argument consists in applying such things to the divinity of
our Saviour as belong to his humanity; 'that he increased in wisdom,
&c.:--that he knows not the day of judgment';--which he evidently
speaks of himself as man: as all the ancient Fathers confess. In St.
Mark it is said, 'But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no,
not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father'.
St. Matthew does not mention the Son: 'Of that day and hour knoweth no
man, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only'.
How much more politic, as well as ingenuous, it had been to have
acknowledged the difficulty of this text. So far from its being evident,
the evidence would be on the Arian side, were it not that so many
express texts determine us to the contrary.
Which shows that the Son in St. Matthew is included in the [Greek:
oudeis] none, or no man, and therefore concerns him only as a man: for
the Father 'includes the whole Trinity', and therefore includes the
Son, who seeth whatever his Father doth.
This is an 'argumentum in circulo', and 'petitio rei sub lite'. Why is
he called the Son in 'antithesis' to the Father, if it meant, "no not
the Christ, except in his character of the co-eternal Son, included in
the Father?" If it "concerned him only as a man," why is he placed after
the angels? Why called the 'Son' simply, instead of the Son of Man, or
[Greek: Oudeis] is not [Greek: oudeis anthropon], but, 'no one': as in
John i. 18. 'No one hath seen God at any time'; that is, he is by
This most difficult text I have not seen explained satisfactorily. I
have thought that the [Greek: aggeloi] must here be taken in the primary
sense of the word, namely, as messengers, or missionary Prophets: Of
this day knoweth no one, not the messengers or revealers of God's
purposes now in heaven, no, not the Son, the greatest of Prophets,--that
is, he in that character promised to declare all that in that character
it was given to him to know.
Ib. p. 186.
When St. Paul calls the Father the One God, he expressly opposes it to
the many gods of the heathens. 'For though there be that are called
gods, &c. but to us, there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all
things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by
him': where the 'one God' and 'one Lord and Mediator' is opposed to
the many gods and many lords or mediators which were worshipped by the
But surely the 'one Lord' is as much distinguished from the 'one God',
as both are contradistinguished from the 'gods many and lords many' of
the heathens. Besides 'the Father' is not the term used in that age in
distinction from the gods that are no gods; but [Greek: Ho epi panton
Ib. p. 222.
'The Word was with God'; that is, it was not yet in the world, or not
yet made flesh; but with God.--'John' i. 1. So that to be 'with God',
signifies nothing but not to be in the world.
_'The Word was with God.'_
Grotius does say, that this was opposed to the Word's being made
flesh, and appearing in the world: but he was far enough from thinking
that these words have only a negative sense: * * * for he tells us
what the positive sense is, that with God is [Greek: para to patri],
with the Father, * * and explains it by what Wisdom says, 'Prov'. vii.
30. 'Then I was by him, &c.' which he does not think a 'prosopopoeia',
but spoken of a subsisting person.
But even this is scarcely tenable even as Greek. Had this been St.
John's meaning, surely he would have said, [Greek: en theo], not [Greek:
pros ton theon], in the nearest proximity that is not confusion. But it
is strange, that Sherlock should not have seen that Grotius had a
hankering toward Socinianism, but, like a 'shy cock', and a man of the
world, was always ready to unsay what he had said.
[Footnote 1: A Vindication of the Doctrine of the Holy and ever Blessed
Trinity and the Incarnation of the Son of God, occasioned by the Brief
Notes on the Creed of St Athanasius, and the Brief History of the
Unitarians, or Socinians. and containing an answer to both. By Wm.
Sherlock, London. 8vo. 1690.]
[Footnote 2: The third General Council, that at Ephesus in 431, decreed
"that it should not be lawful for any man to publish or compose
another Faith or Creed than that which was defined by the Nicene
* * * * *
NOTES ON WATERLAND'S VINDICATION OF CHRIST'S DIVINITY. 
It would be no easy matter to find a tolerably competent individual who
more venerates the writings of Waterland than I do, and long have done.
But still in how many pages do I not see reason to regret, that the
total idea of the 4=3=1,--of the adorable Tetractys, eternally
self-manifested in the Triad, Father, Son, and Spirit,--was never in its
cloudless unity present to him. Hence both he and Bishop Bull too often
treat it as a peculiarity of positive religion, which is to be cleared
of all contradiction to reason, and then, thus negatively qualified, to
be actually received by an act of the mere will; 'sit pro ratione
voluntas'. Now, on the other hand, I affirm, that the article of the
Trinity is religion, is reason, and its universal 'formula'; and that
there neither is, nor can be, any religion, any reason, but what is, or
is an expansion of the truth of the Trinity; in short, that all other
pretended religions, pagan or 'pseudo'-Christian (for example,
Sabellian, Arian, Socinian), are in themselves Atheism; though God
forbid, that I should call or even think the men so denominated
Atheists. I affirm a heresy often, but never dare denounce the holder a
On this ground only can it be made comprehensible, how any honest and
commonly intelligent man can withstand the proofs and sound logic of
Bull and Waterland, that they failed in the first place to present the
idea itself of the great doctrine which they so ably advocated. Take my
self, S.T.C. as a humble instance. I was never so befooled as to think
that the author of the fourth Gospel, or that St. Paul, ever taught the
Priestleyan Psilanthropism, or that Unitarianisn (presumptuously, nay,
absurdly so called), was the doctrine of the New Testament generally.
But during the sixteen months of my aberration from the Catholic Faith,
I presumed that the tenets of the divinity of Christ, the Redemption,
and the like, were irrational, and that what was contradictory to reason
could not have been revealed by the Supreme Reason. As soon as I
discovered that these doctrines were not only consistent with reason,
but themselves very reason, I returned at once to the literal
interpretation of the Scriptures, and to the Faith.
As to Dr. Samuel Clarke, the fact is, every generation has its one or
more over-rated men. Clarke was such in the reign of George I.; Dr.
Johnson eminently so in that of George III.; Lord Byron being the star
now in the ascendant.
In every religious and moral use of the word, God, taken absolutely,
that is, not as a God, or the God, but as God, a relativity, a
distinction in kind 'ab omni quod non est Deus', is so essentially
implied, that it is a matter of perfect indifference, whether we assert
a world without God, or make God the world. The one is as truly Atheism
as the other. In fact, for all moral and practical purposes they are the
same position differently expressed; for whether I say, God is the
world, or the world is God, the inevitable conclusion, the sense and
import is, that there is no other God than the world, that is, there is
no other meaning to the term God. Whatever you may mean by, or choose to
believe of, the world, that and that alone you mean by, and believe of,
God. Now I very much question whether in any other sense Atheism, that
is, speculative Atheism, is possible. For even in the Lucretian, the
coarsest and crudest scheme of the Epicurean doctrine, a hylozism, a
potential life, is clearly implied, as also in the celebrated 'lene
clinamen' becoming actual. Desperadoes articulating breath into a
blasphemy of nonsense, to which they themselves attach no connected
meaning, and the wickedness of which is alone intelligible, there may
be; but a La Place, or a La Grand, would, and with justice, resent and
repel the imputation of a belief in chance, or of a denial of law,
order, and self-balancing life and power in the world. Their error is,
that they make them the proper and underived attributes of the world. It
follows then, that Pantheism is equivalent to Atheism, and that there is
no other Atheism actually existing, or speculatively conceivable, but
Pantheism. Now I hold it demonstrable that a consistent Socinianism,
following its own consequences, must come to Pantheism, and in ungodding
the Saviour must deify cats and dogs, fleas and frogs. There is, there
can be, no 'medium' between the Catholic Faith of Trinal Unity, and
Atheism disguised in the self-contradicting term, Pantheism;--for every
thing God, and no God, are identical positions.
Query I. p. 1.
'The Word was God'.--John i. 1. 'I am the Lord, and there is none
else; there is no God besides me'.--Is. xiv. 5, &c.
In all these texts the 'was', or 'is', ought to be rendered positively,
or objectively, and not as a mere connective: 'The Word Is God', and
saith, 'I Am the Lord; there is no God besides me', the Supreme Being,
'Deitas objectiva'. The Father saith, 'I Am in that I am,--Deitas
Ib. p. 2.
Whether all other beings, besides the one Supreme God, be not excluded
by the texts of Isaiah (to which many more might be added), and
consequently, whether Christ can be God at all, unless He be the same
with the Supreme God?
The sum of your answer to this query is, that the texts cited from
Isaiah, are spoken of one Person only, the Person of the Father, &c.
O most unhappy mistranslation of 'Hypostasis' by Person! The Word is
properly the only Person.
Ib. p. 3.
Now, upon your hypothesis, we must add; that even the Son of God
himself, however divine he may be thought, is really no God at all in
any just and proper sense. He is no more than a nominal God, and
stands excluded with the rest. All worship of him, and reliance upon
him, will be idolatry, as much as the worship of angels, or men, or of
the gods of the heathen would be. God the Father he is God, and he
only, and 'him only shall thou serve'. This I take to be a clear
consequence from your principles, and unavoidable.
Waterland's argument is absolutely unanswerable by a worshipper of
Christ. The modern 'ultra'-Socinian cuts the knot.
Query II. p. 43.
And therefore he might as justly bear the style and title of 'Lord
God, God of Abraham', &c. while he acted in that capacity, as he did
that of 'Mediator, Messiah, Son of the Father', &c. after that he
condescended to act in another, and to discover his personal relation.
And why, then, did not Dr. Waterland,--why did not his great
predecessor in this glorious controversy, Bishop Bull,--contend for a
revisal of our established version of the Bible, but especially of the
New Testament? Either the unanimous belief and testimony of the first
five or six centuries, grounded on the reiterated declarations of John
and Paul, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, were erroneous,
or at best doubtful;--and then why not wipe them off; why these
references to them?--or else they were, as I believe, and both Bull and
Waterland believed, the very truth; and then why continue the
translation of the Hebrew into English at second-hand through the
'medium' of the Septuagint? Have we not adopted the Hebrew word,
Jehovah,? Is not the [Greek: Kyrios], or Lord, of the LXX. a Greek
substitute, in countless instances, for the Hebrew Jehovah? Why not then
restore the original word, and in the Old Testament religiously render
Jehovah by Jehovah, and every text of the New Testament, referring to
the Old, by the Hebrew word in the text referred to? Had this been done,
Socinianism would have been scarcely possible in England.
Why was not this done?--I will tell you why. Because that great truth,
in which are contained all treasures of all possible knowledge, was
still opaque even to Bull and Waterland;--because the Idea itself--that
'Idea Idearum', the one substrative truth which is the form, manner, and
involvent of all truths,--was never present to either of them in its
entireness, unity, and transparency. They most ably vindicated the
doctrine of the Trinity, negatively, against the charge of positive
irrationality. With equal ability they shewed the contradictions, nay,
the absurdities, involved in the rejection of the same by a professed
Christian. They demonstrated the utterly un-Scriptural and
contra-Scriptural nature of Arianism, and Sabellianism, and Socinianism.
But the self-evidence of the great Truth, as a universal of the
reason,--as the reason itself--as a light which revealed itself by its
own essence as light--this they had not had vouchsafed to them.
Query XV. p. 225-6.
The pretence is, that we equivocate in talking of eternal generation.
All generation is necessarily [Greek: anarchon ti], without dividuous
beginning, and herein contradistinguished from creation.
Ib. p. 226.
True, it is not the same with human generation.
Not the same 'eodem modo', certainly; but it is so essentially the same
that the generation of the Son of God is the transcendent, which gives
to human generation its right to be so called. It is in the most proper,
that is, the fontal, sense of the term, generation.
You have not proved that all generation implies beginning; and what is
It would be difficult to disprove the contrary. Generation with a
beginning is not generation, but creation. Hence we may see how
necessary it is that in all important controversies we should predefine
the terms negatively, that is, exclude and preclude all that is not
meant by them; and then the positive meaning, that is, what is meant by
them, will be the easy result,--the post-definition, which is at once
the real definition and impletion, the circumference and the area.
Ib. p. 227-8.
It is a usual thing with many, (moralists may account for it), when
they meet with a difficulty which they cannot readily answer,
immediately to conclude that the doctrine is false, and to run
directly into the opposite persuasion;--not considering that they may
meet with much more weighty objections there than before; or that they
may have reason sufficient to maintain and believe many things in
philosophy and divinity, though they cannot answer every question
which may be started, or every difficulty which may be raised against
O, if Bull and Waterland had been first philosophers, and then divines,
instead of being first, manacled, or say articled clerks of a guild;--if
the clear free intuition of the truth had led them to the Article, and
not the Article to the defence of it as not having been proved to be
false,--how different would have been the result! Now we feel only the
inconsistency of Arianism, not the truth of the doctrine attacked.
Arianism is confuted, and in such a manner, that I will not reject the
Catholic Faith upon the Arian's grounds. It may, I allow, be still true.
But that it is true, because the Arians have hitherto failed to prove
its falsehood, is no logical conclusion. The Unitarian may have better
luck; or if he fail, the Deist.
Query XVI. p. 234.
But God's 'thoughts are not our thoughts'.
That is, as I would interpret the text;--the ideas in and by which God
reveals himself to man are not the same with, and are not to be judged
by, the conceptions which the human understanding generalizes from the
notices of the senses, common to man and to irrational animals, dogs,
elephants, beavers, and the like, endowed with the same senses.
Therefore I regard this paragraph, p. 223-4, as a specimen of admirable
special pleading 'ad hominem' in the Court of eristic Logic; but I
condemn it as a wilful resignation or temporary self-deposition of the
reason. I will not suppose what my reason declares to be no position at
all, and therefore an impossible sub-position.
Ib. p. 235.
Let us keep to the terms we began with; lest by the changing of words
we make a change of ideas, and alter the very state of the question.
This misuse, or rather this 'omnium-gatherum' expansion and consequent
extenuation of the word, Idea and Ideas, may be regarded as a calamity
inflicted by Mr. Locke on the reigns of William III. Queen Anne, and the
first two Georges.
Ib. p. 237.
Sacrifice was one instance of worship required under the Law; and it
is said;--'He that sacrificeth unto any God, save unto the Lord only,
he shall be utterly destroyed' (Exod. xxii. 20.) Now suppose any
person, considering with himself that only absolute and sovereign
sacrifice was appropriated to God by this law, should have gone and
sacrificed to other Gods, and have been convicted of it before the
judges. The apology he must have made for it, I suppose, must have run
thus: "Gentlemen, though I have sacrificed to other Gods, yet I hope
you'll observe, that I did it not absolutely: I meant not any absolute
or supreme sacrifice (which is all that the Law forbids), but relative
and inferior only. I regulated my intentions with all imaginable care,
and my esteem with the most critical exactness. I considered the other
Gods, whom I sacrificed to, as inferior only and infinitely so;
reserving all sovereign sacrifice to the supreme God of Israel." This,
or the like apology must, I presume, have brought off the criminal
with some applause for his acuteness, if your principles be true.
Either you must allow this, or you must be content to say, that not
only absolute supreme sacrifice (if there be any sense in that
phrase), but all sacrifice was by the Law appropriate to God only, &c.
How was it possible for an Arian to answer this? But it was impossible;
and Arianism was extinguished by Waterland, but in order to the increase
of Socinianism; and this, I doubt not, Waterland foresaw. He was too
wise a man to suppose that the exposure of the folly and falsehood of
one form of Infidelism would cure or prevent Infidelity. Enough, that he
made it more bare-faced--I might say, bare-breeched; for modern
Unitarianism is verily the 'sans-culotterie' of religion.
Ib. p. 239.
You imagine that acts of religious worship are to derive their
signification and quality from the intention and meaning of the
worshippers: whereas the very reverse of it is the truth.
Truly excellent. Let the Church of England praise God for her Saints--a
more glorious Kalendar than Rome can show!
Ib. p. 251.
The sum then of the case is this: If the Son could be included as
being uncreated, and very God; as Creator, Sustainer, Preserver of all
things, and one with the Father; then he might be worshipped upon
their (the Ante-Nicene Fathers') principles, but otherwise could not.
Every where in this invaluable writer I have to regret the absence of
all distinct idea of the I Am as the proper attribute of the Father; and
hence, the ignorance of the proper Jehovaism of the Son; and hence, that
while we worship the Son together with the Father, we nevertheless pray
to the Father only through the Son.
And we may never be able perfectly to comprehend the relations of the
three persons, 'ad intra', amongst themselves; the ineffable order and
economy of the ever-blessed co-eternal Trinity.
"Comprehend!" No. For how can any spiritual truth be comprehended? Who
can comprehend his own will; or his own personeity, that is, his I-ship
(Ichheit'); or his own mind, that is, his person; or his own life? But
we can distinctly apprehend them. In strictness, the Idea, God, like all
other ideas rightly so called, and as contradistinguished from
conception, is not so properly above, as alien from, comprehension. It
is like smelling a sound.
Query XVIII. p. 269.
From what hath been observed, it may appear sufficiently that the
divine [Greek: Logos] was our King and our God long before; that he
had the same claim and title to religious worship that the Father
himself had--'only not so distinctly revealed'.
Here I differ 'toto orbe' from Waterland, and say with Luther and
Zinzendorf, that before the Baptism of John the 'Logos' alone had been
distinctly revealed, and that first in Christ he declared himself a Son,
namely, the co-eternal only-begotten Son, and thus revealed the Father.
Indeed the want of the Idea of the 1=3 could alone have prevented
Waterland from inferring this from his own query II. and the texts cited
by him pp. 28-38. The Father cannot be revealed except in and through
the Son, his eternal 'exegesis'. The contrary position is an absurdity.
The Supreme Will, indeed, the Absolute Good, knoweth himself as the
Father: but the act of self-affirmation, the I Am in that I Am, is not a
manifestation 'ad extra', not an 'exegesis'.
Ib. p. 274.
This point being settled, I might allow you that, in some sense,
distinct worship commenced with the distinct title of Son or Redeemer:
that is, our blessed Lord was then first worshipped, or commanded to
be worshipped by us, under that distinct title or character; having
before had no other title or character peculiar and proper to himself,
but only what was common to the Father and him too.
Rather shall I say that the Son and the Spirit, the Word and the Wisdom,
were alone worshipped, because alone revealed under the Law. See
Proverbs, i. ii.
The passage quoted from Bishop Bull is very plausible and very eloquent;
but only 'cum multis granis salis sumend'.
Query XIX. p. 279.
That the Father, whose honour had been sufficiently secured under the
Jewish dispensation, and could not but be so under the Christian also,
Here again! This contradiction of Waterland to his own principles is
continually recurring;--yea, and in one place he involves the very
Tritheism, of which he was so victorious an antagonist, namely, that the
Father is Jehovah, the Son Jehovah, and the Spirit Jehovah;--thus making
Jehovah either a mere synonyme of God--whereas he himself rightly
renders it [Greek: Ho On], which St. John every where, and St. Paul no
less, makes the peculiar name of the Son, [Greek: monogenaes uhios, ho
on eis ton kolpon tou patros]--; or he affirms the same absurdity, as if
had said: The Father is the Son, and the Son is the Son, and the Holy
Ghost is the Son, and yet there are not three Sons but one Son. N. B.
[Greek: Ho on] is the verbal noun of [Greek: hos esti], not of [Greek:
ego eimi]. It is strange how little use has been made of that profound
and most pregnant text, 'John' i. 18!
Query XX. p. 302.
The [Greek: homoousion] itself might have been spared, at least out of
the Creeds, had not a fraudulent abuse of good words brought matters
to that pass, that the Catholic Faith was in danger of being lost even
under Catholic language.
Most assuredly the very 'disputable' rendering of [Greek: homoousion] by
consubstantial, or of one substance with, not only might have been
spared, but should have been superseded. Why not--as is felt to be for
the interest of science in all the physical sciences--retain the same
term in all languages? Why not 'usia' and homouesial, as well as
'hypostasis', hypostatic, homogeneous, heterogeneous, and the like;--or
as Baptism, Eucharist, Liturgy, Epiphany and the rest?
Query XXI. p. 303.
The Doctor's insinuating from the 300 texts, which style the Father
God absolutely, or the one God, that the Son is not strictly and
essentially God, not one God with the Father, is a strained and remote
inference of his own.
Waterland has weakened his argument by seeming to admit that in all
these 300 texts the Father, 'distinctive', is meant.
Ib. p. 316-17.
The simplicity of God is another mystery. * * When we come to inquire
whether all extension, or all plurality, diversity, composition of
substance and accident, and the like, be consistent with it, then it
is we discover how confused and inadequate our ideas are. * * To this
head belongs that perplexing question (beset with difficulties on all
sides), whether the divine substance be extended or no.
Surely, the far larger part of these assumed difficulties rests on a
misapplication either of the senses to the sense, or of the sense to the
understanding, or of the understanding to the reason;--in short, on an
asking for images where only theorems can be, or requiring theorems for
thoughts, that is, conceptions or notions, or lastly, conceptions for
Query XXIII. p. 351.
But taking advantage of the ambiguity of the word 'hypostasis',
sometimes used to signify substance, and sometimes person, you
contrive a fallacy.
And why did not Waterland lift up his voice against this mischievous
abuse of the term 'hypostasis', and the perversion of its Latin
rendering, 'substantia' as being equivalent to [Greek: ousia]? Why
[Greek: ousia] should not have been rendered by 'essentia', I cannot
conceive. 'Est' seems a contraction of 'esset', and 'ens' of 'essens':
[Greek: on, ousa, ousia] = 'essens, essentis, essentia'.
Ib. p. 354.
Let me desire you not to give so great a loose to your fancy in divine
things: you seem to consider every thing under the notion of extension
and sensible images.
Very true. The whole delusion of the Anti-Trinitarians arises out of
this, that they apply the property of imaginable matter--in which A. is,
that is, can only be imagined, by exclusion of B. as the universal
predicate of all substantial being.
Ib. p. 357.
And our English Unitarians * * have been still refining upon the
Socinian scheme, * * and have brought it still nearer to Sabellianism.
The Sabellian and the Unitarian seem to differ only in this;--that what
the Sabellian calls union with, the Unitarian calls full inspiration by,
Ib. p. 359.
It is obvious, at first sight, that the true Arian or Semi-Arian
scheme (which you would be thought to come up to at least) can never
tolerably support itself without taking in the Catholic principle of a
human soul to join with the Word.
Here comes one of the consequences of the Cartesian Dualism: as if
[Greek: sarx], the living body, could be or exist without a soul, or a
human living body without a human soul! [Greek: Sarx] is not Greek for
carrion, nor [Greek: soma] for carcase.
Query XXIV. p. 371.
Necessary existence is an essential character, and belongs equally to
Father and Son.
Subsistent in themselves are Father, Son and Spirit: the Father only has
origin in himself.
Query XXVI. p. 412.
The words [Greek: ouch hos genomenon] he construes thus: "not as
eternally generated," as if he had read [Greek: gennomenon], supplying
[Greek: aidios] by imagination. The sense and meaning of the word
[Greek: genomenon], signifying made, or created, is so fixed and
certain in this author, &c.
This is but one of fifty instances in which the true Englishing of
[Greek: genomenos, egeneto], &c. would have prevented all mistake. It is
not 'made', but 'became'. Thus here:--begotten eternally, and not as one
that became; that is, as not having been before. The only-begotten Son
never 'became'; but all things 'became' through him.
'Et nos etiam Sermoni atque Rationi, itemque Virtuti, per quae omnia
molitum Deum ediximus, propriam substantiam Spiritum inscribimus; cui
et Sermo insit praenuntianti, et Ratio adsit disponenti, et Virtus
perficienti. Hunc ex Deo prolatum didicimus, et prolatione generatum,
et idcirco Filium Dei et Deum dictum ex unitate substantiae'.--Tertull.
Apol. c. 21.
How strange and crude the realism of the Christian Faith appears in
Tertullian's rugged Latin!
Ib. p. 414.
He represents Tertullian as making the Son, in his highest capacity,
ignorant of the day of judgment.
Of the true sense of the text, Mark xiii. 32., I still remain in doubt;
but, though as zealous and stedfast a Homouesian as Bull and Waterland
themselves, I am inclined to understand it of the Son in his highest
capacity; but I would avoid the inferiorizing consequences by a stricter
rendering of the [Greek: ei mae ho Pataer]. The [Greek: monon] of St.
Matthew xxiv. 36. is here omitted. I think Waterland's a very
unsatisfying solution of this text.
Ib. p. 415.
'Exclamans quod se Deus reliquisset, &c. Habes ipsum exclamantem in
passione, Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti? Sed haec vox
carnis et animae, id est, hominis; nec Sermonis, nec Spiritus',
&c.--Tertull. Adv. Prax. c. 26. c. 30.
The ignorance of the Fathers, and, Origen excepted, of the Ante-Nicene
Fathers in particular, in all that respects Hebrew learning and the New
Testament references to the Old Testament, is shown in this so early
fantastic misinterpretation grounded on the fact of our Lord's
reminding, and as it were giving out aloud to John and Mary the
twenty-second Psalm, the prediction of his present sufferings and after
glory. But the entire passage in Tertullian, though no proof of his
Arianism, is full of proofs of his want of insight into the true sense
of the Scripture texts. Indeed without detracting from the inestimable
services of the Fathers from Tertullian to Augustine respecting the
fundamental article of the Christian Faith, yet commencing from the
fifth century, I dare claim for the Reformed Church of England the
honorable name of [Greek: archaspistaes] of Trinitarianism, and the
foremost rank among the Churches, Roman or Protestant: the learned
Romanist divines themselves admit this, and make a merit of the
reluctance with which they nevertheless admit it, in respect of Bishop
Ib. p. 421.
It seems to me that if there be not reasons of conscience obliging a
good man to speak out, there are always reasons of prudence which
should make a wise man hold his tongue.
True, and as happily expressed. To this, however, the honest
Anti-Trinitarian must come at last: "Well, well, I admit that John and
Paul thought differently; but this remains my opinion."
Query XXVII. p. 427.
[Greek: Ton alaethinon kai ontos onta Theon, ton tou Christou patera].
--Athanas. Cont. Gent.
The just and literal rendering of the passage is this: 'The true God
who in reality is such, namely, the Father of Christ.'
The passage admits of a somewhat different interpretation from this of
Waterland's, and of equal, if not greater, force against the Arian
notion: namely, taking [Greek: ton ontos onta] distinctively from
[Greek: ho on]--the 'Ens omnis entitatis, etiam suae', that is, the I Am
the Father, in distinction from the 'Ens Supremum', the Son. It cannot,
however, be denied that in changing the 'formula' of the 'Tetractys'
into the 'Trias', by merging the 'Prothesis' in the 'Thesis', the
Identity in the Ipseity, the Christian Fathers subjected their
exposition to many inconveniences.
Ib. p. 432.
[Greek: Ouch ho poiaetaes ton holon estai Theos ho to Mosei eipon
auton einai Theon Abraam, kai Theon Isaak, kai Theon Iakob].--Justin
Mart. Dial. p. 180.
The meaning is, that that divine Person, who called himself God, and
was God, was not the Person of the Father, whose ordinary character is
that of maker of all things, but another divine Person, namely, God
the Son. * * It was Justin's business to shew that there was a divine
Person, one who was God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and was not the
Father; and therefore there were two divine Persons.
At all events, it was a very incautious expression on the part of
Justin, though his meaning was, doubtless, that which Waterland gives.
The same most improper, or at best, most inconvenient because equivocal
phrase, has been, as I think, interpolated into our Apostles' Creed.
Ib. p. 436.
[Greek: Taeroito d' an, hos ho emos logos, ehis men Theos, eis hen
aition kai Ghiou kai Pneumatos anapheromenon. k.t.l.]--Greg. Naz.
We may, as I conceive, preserve (the doctrine of) one God, by
referring both the Son and Holy Ghost to one cause, &c.
Another instance of the inconvenience of the Trias compared with the
[Footnote 1: A Vindication of Christ's Divinity: being a defence of some
queries relating to Dr. Clarke's scheme of the Holy Trinity, &c. By
Daniel Waterland. 2nd edit. Cambridge, 1719. Ed.]
'Y sino ahi esta el Doctor Jorge Bull Profesor de Teologia, y
Presbitero de la Iglesia Anglicana, que murio Obispo de San David el
ano de 1716, cuyas obras teologico--escolasticas, en folio, nada deben
a las mas alambicadas que se han estampado en Salamanca y en Coimbra;
y como los puntos que por la mayor parte trato en ellas son sobre los
misterios capitales de nuestra Santa Fe, conviene a saber, sobre el
misterio de la Trinidad, y sobre el de la Divinidad de Cristo, en los
cuales su Pseudaiglesia Anglicana no se desvia de la Catolica, en
verdad, que los manejo con tanto nervio y con tanta delicadeza, que
los teologos ortodojos mas escolastizados, como si dijeramos
electrizados, hacen grande estimacion de dichas obras. Y aun en los
dos Tratados que escribio acerca de la Justification, que es punto mas
resvaladizo, en los principios que abrazo, no se separo de los
teologos Catolicos; pero en algunas consecuencias que infirio, ya dio
bastantemente a entender la mala leche que habia mamado.'
Fray. Gerundio. ii. 7. Ed.]
* * * * *
NOTES ON WATERLAND'S IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY TRINITY.
Chap. I. p. 18.
It is the property of the Divine Being to be unsearchable; and if he
were not so, he would not be divine. Must we therefore reject the most
certain truths concerning the Deity, only because they are
It is strange that so sound, so admirable a logician as Waterland,
should have thought 'unsearchable' and 'incomprehensible' synonymous, or
at least equivalent terms:--and this, though St. Paul hath made it the
privilege of the full-grown Christian, 'to search out the deep things of
Chap. IV. p. 111.
'The delivering over unto Satan' seems to have been a form of
excommunication, declaring the person reduced to the state of a
heathen; and in the Apostolical age it was accompanied with
supernatural or miraculous effects upon the bodies of the persons so
Unless the passage, ('Acts' v. 1-11.) be an authority, I must doubt the
truth of this assertion, as tending to destroy the essential
spirituality of Christian motives, and, in my judgment, as
irreconcilable with our Lord's declaration, that his kingdom was 'not of
this world'. Let me be once convinced that St. Paul, with the elders of
an Apostolic Church, knowingly and intentionally appended a palsy or a
consumption to the sentence of excommunication, and I shall be obliged
to reconsider my old opinion as to the anti-Christian principle of the
Ib. p. 114.
'A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition,
reject; knowing that he that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being
condemned of himself'.--Tit. iii. 10, 11.
This text would be among my minor arguments for doubting the Paulinity
of the Epistle to Titus. It seems to me to breathe the spirit of a later
age, and a more established Church power.
Not every one that mistakes in judgment, though in matters of great
importance, in points fundamental, but he that openly espouses such
fundamental error. * * Dr. Whitby adds to the definition, the
espousing it out of disgust, pride, envy, or some worldly principle,
and against his conscience.
Whitby went too far; Waterland not far enough. Every schismatic is not
necessarily a heretic; but every heretic is virtually a schismatic. As
to the meaning of [Greek: autokatakritos], Waterland surely makes too
much of a very plain matter. What was the sentence passed on a heretic?
A public declaration that he was no longer a member of--that is, of one
faith with--the Church. This the man himself, after two public notices,
admits and involves in the very act of persisting. However confident as
to the truth of the doctrine he has set up, he cannot, after two public
admonitions, be ignorant that it is a doctrine contrary to the articles
of his communion with the Church that has admitted him; and in regard of
his alienation from that communion, he is necessarily [Greek:
autokatakritos],--though in his pride of heart he might say with the man
of old, "And I banish you."
Ib. p. 123.
--as soon as the miraculous gifts, or gift of discerning spirits,
No one point in the New Testament perplexes me so much as these (so
called) miraculous gifts. I feel a moral repugnance to the reduction of
them to natural and acquired talents, ennobled and made energic by the
life and convergency of faith;--and yet on no other scheme can I
reconcile them with the idea of Christianity, or the particular
supposed, with the general known, facts. But, thank God! it is a
question which does not in the least degree affect our faith or
practice. I mean, if God permit, to go through the Middletonian
controversy, as soon as I can procure the loan of the books, or have
health enough to become a reader in the British Museum.
Ib. p. 126.
And what if, after all, spiritual censures (for of such only I am
speaking,) should happen to fall upon such a person, he may be in some
measure hurt in his reputation by it, and that is all. And possibly
hereupon his errors, before invincible through ignorance, may be
removed by wholesome instruction and admonition, and so he is
befriended in it, &c.
Waterland is quite in the right so far;--but the penal laws, the
temporal inflictions--would he have called for the repeal of these?
Milton saw this subject with a mastering eye,--saw that the awful power
of excommunication was degraded and weakened even to impotence by any
the least connection with the law of the State.
Ib. p. 127.
--who are hereby forbidden to receive such heretics into their houses,
or to pay them so much as common civilities. This precept of the
Apostle may he further illustrated by his own practice, recorded by
Irenaeus, who had the information at second-hand from Polycarp, a
disciple of St. John's, that St. John, once meeting with Cerinthus at
the bath, retired instantly without bathing, for fear lest the bath
should fall by reason of Cerinthus being there, the enemy to truth.
Psha! The 'bidding him God speed',--[Greek: legon auto chairein],--(2
'John', 11,) is a spirituality, not a mere civility. If St. John knew or
suspected that Cerinthus had a cutaneous disease, there would have been
some sense in the refusal, or rather, as I correct myself, some
probability of truth in this gossip of Irenaeus.
Ib. p. 128.
They corrupted the faith of Christ, and in effect subverted the
Gospel. That was enough to render them detestable in the eyes of all
men who sincerely loved and valued sound faith.
O, no, no, not 'them!' 'Error quidem, non tamen homo errans,
abominandus': or, to pun a little, 'abhominandus'. Be bold in denouncing
the heresy, but slow and timorous in denouncing the erring brother as a
heretic. The unmistakable passions of a factionary and a schismatic, the
ostentatious display, the ambition and dishonest arts of a sect-founder,
must be superinduced on the false doctrine, before the heresy makes the
man a heretic.
Ib. p. 129.
--the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.
Were the Nicolaitans a sect, properly so called? The word is the Greek
rendering of 'the children of Balaam;' that is, men of grossly immoral
and disorderly lives.
Ib. p. 130.
For if he who 'shall break one of the least moral commandments, and
shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven',
(Mat. v. 19,) it must be a very dangerous experiment, &c.
A sad misinterpretation of our Lord's words, which from the context most
evidently had no reference to any moral, that is, universal commandment
as such, but to the national institutions of the Jewish state, as long
as that state should be in existence; that is to say, until 'the Heaven'
or the Government, and 'the Earth' or the People or the Governed, as one
'corpus politicum', or nation, had 'passed away'. Till that time,--which
was fulfilled under Titus, and more thoroughly under Hadrian,--no Jew
was relieved from his duties as a citizen and subject by his having
become a Christian. The text, together with the command implied in the
miracle of the tribute-money in the fish's mouth, might be fairly and
powerfully adduced against the Quakers, in respect of their refusal to
pay their tithes, or whatever tax they please to consider as having an
un-Christian destination. But are they excluded from the kingdom of
heaven, that is, the Christian Church? No;--but they must be regarded
as weak and injudicious members of it.
Chap. V. p. 140.
Accordingly it may be observed, how the unbelievers caress and
compliment those complying gentlemen who meet them half way, while
they are perpetually inveighing against the stiff divines, as they
call them, whom they can make no advantage of.
Lessing, an honest and frank-hearted Infidel, expresses the same
sentiment. As long as a German Protestant divine keeps himself stiff and
stedfast to the Augsburg Confession, to the full Creed of Melancthon, he
is impregnable, and may bid defiance to sceptic and philosopher. But let
him quit the citadel, and the Cossacs are upon him.
Ib. p. 187.
And therefore it is infallibly certain, as Mr. Chillingworth well
argues with respect to Christianity in general, that we ought firmly
to believe it; because wisdom and reason require that we should
believe those things which are by many degrees more credible and
probable than the contrary.
Yes, where there are but two positions, one of which must be true. When
A. is presented to my mind with probability=5, and B. with
probability=15, I must think that B. is three times more probable than
A. And yet it is very possible that a C. may be found which will
Chap. VI. p. 230.
The Creed of Jerusalem, preserved by Cyril, (the most ancient perhaps
of any now extant,) is very express for the divinity of God the Son,
in these words: "And in our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son
of God; true God, begotten of the Father before all ages, by whom all
things were made" * *. [Greek: Kai eis hena Kyrion Iaesoun Christon,
ton uhion tou Theou monogenae, ton ek tou patros gennaethenta, Theon
alaethinon, pro panton ton aionon, di' ohu ta panta egeneto].
I regard this, both from its antiquity and from the peculiar character
of the Church of Jerusalem, so far removed from the influence of the
Pythagoreo-Platonic sects of Paganism, as the most important and
convincing mere fact of evidence in the Trinitarian controversy.
Ib. p. 233.
--true Son of the Father, 'invisible' of invisible, &c.
How is this reconcilable with 'John' i. 18--('no one hath seen God at
any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he
hath declared him',--) or with the 'express image', asserted above.
'Invisible,' I suppose, must be taken in the narrowest sense, that is,
to bodily eyes. But then the one 'invisible' would not mean the same as
Ib. p. 236.
'Symbola certe Ecclesiae ex ipso Ecclesiae sensu, non ex haereticorum
cerebello, exponenda sunt'.--Bull. Judic. Eccl. v.
The truth of a Creed must be tried by the Holy Scriptures; but the sense
of the Creed by the known sentiments and inferred intention of its
Ib. p. 238.
The very name of Father, applied in the Creed to the first Person,
intimates the relation he bears to a Son, &c.
No doubt: but the most probable solution of the apparent want of
distinctness of explication on this article, in my humble judgment,
is--that the so-called Apostles' Creed was at first the preparatory
confession of the catechumens, the admission-ticket, as it were
('symbolum ad Baptismum'), at the gate of the Church, and gradually
augmented as heresies started up. The latest of these seems to have
consisted in the doubt respecting the entire death of Jesus on the
Cross, as distinguished from suspended animation. Hence in the fifth or
sixth century the clause--"and he descended into Hades," was
inserted;--that is, the indissoluble principle of the man Jesus, was
separated from, and left, the dissoluble, and subsisted apart in
'Scheol', or the abode of separated souls;--but really meaning no more
than 'vere mortuus est'. Jesus was taken from the Cross dead in the very
same sense in which the Baptist was dead after his beheading.
Nevertheless, well adapted as this Creed was to its purposes, I cannot
but regret the high place and precedence which by means of its title,
and the fable to which that title gave rise, it has usurped. It has, as
it appears to me, indirectly favoured Arianism and Socinianism.
Ib. p. 250.
That St. John wrote his Gospel with a view to confute Cerinthus, among
other false teachers, is attested first by Irenaeus, who was a
disciple of Polycarp, and who flourished within less than a century of
St. John's time.
I have little trust and no faith in the gossip and hearsay-anecdotes of
the early Fathers, Irenaeus not excepted. "Within less than a century of
St. John's time." Alas! a century in the paucity of writers and of men
of education in the age succeeding the Apostolic, must be reckoned more
than equal to five centuries since the use of printing. Suppose,
however, the truth of the Irenaean tradition;--that the Creed of
Cerinthus was what Irenaeus states it to have been; and that John, at the
instance of the Asiatic Bishops, wrote his Gospel as an antidote to the
Cerinthian heresy;--does there not thence arise, in his utter silence,
an almost overwhelming argument against the Apostolicity of the
'Christopaedia', both that prefixed to Luke, and that concorporated with
Ib. p. 257.
'In him was life, and the life was the light of men'. The same Word
was life, the [Greek: logos and zoae], both one. There was no occasion
therefore for subtilly distinguishing the Word and Life into two Sons,
as some did.
I will not deny the possibility of this interpretation. It may be,--nay,
it is,--fairly deducible from the words of the great Evangelist: but I
cannot help thinking that, taken as the primary intention, it degrades
this most divine chapter, which unites in itself the three characters of
sublime, profound, and pregnant, and alloys its universality by a
mixture of time and accident.
'And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness cometh not upon
it.' So I render the verse, conformable to the rendering of the same
Greek verb, [Greek: katalambano], by our translators in another place
of this same Gospel. The Apostle, as I conceive, in this 5th verse of
his 1st chapter, alludes to the prevailing error of the Gentiles, &c.
O sad, sad! How must the philosopher have been eclipsed by the shadow of
antiquarian erudition, in order that a mind like Waterland's could have
sacrificed the profound universal import of 'comprehend' to an allusion
to a worthless dream of heretical nonsense, the mushroom of the day! Had
Waterland ever thought of the relation of his own understanding to his
reason? But alas! the identification of these two diversities--of how
many errors has it been ground and occasion!
Ib. p. 259.
'And the Word was made flesh'--became personally united with the man
Jesus; 'and dwelt among us',--resided constantly in the human nature
Waterland himself did but dimly see the awful import of [Greek: egeneto
sarx],--the mystery of the alien ground--and the truth, that as the
ground such must be the life. He caused himself to 'become flesh', and
therein assumed a mortal life into his own person and unity, in order
himself to transubstantiate the corruptible into the incorruptible.
Waterland's anxiety to show the anti-heretical force of St. John's
Gospel and Epistles, has caused him to overlook their Catholicity--their
applicability to all countries and all times--their truth, independently
of all temporary accidents and errors;--which Catholicity alone it is
that constitutes their claim to Canonicity, that is, to be Canonical
Ib. p. 266.
Hereupon therefore the Apostle, in defence of Christ's real humanity,
says, 'This is he that came by water and blood'.
'Water and blood,' that is 'serum' and 'crassamentum', mean simply
'blood,' the blood of the animal or carnal life, which, saith Moses, 'is
the life'. Hence 'flesh' is often taken as, and indeed is a form of, the
blood,--blood formed or organized. Thus 'blood' often includes 'flesh,'
and 'flesh' includes 'blood.' 'Flesh and blood' is equivalent to blood
in its twofold form, or rather as formed and formless. 'Water and blood'
has, therefore, two meanings in St. John, but which 'in idem
1. true animal human blood, and no celestial ichor or phantom:
2. the whole sentiently vital body, fixed or flowing, the pipe and the
For the ancients, and especially the Jews, had no distinct apprehension
of the use or action of the nerves: in the Old Testament 'heart' is used
as we use 'head.' 'The fool hath said in his heart'--is in English: "the
worthless fellow ('vaurien') hath taken it into his head," &c.
Ib. p. 268.
The Apostle having said that the Spirit is truth, or essential truth,
(which was giving him a title common to God the Father and to Christ,)
Is it clear that the distinct 'hypostasis' of the Holy Spirit, in the
same sense as the only-begotten Son is hypostatically distinguished from
the Father, was a truth that formed an immediate object or intention of
St. John? That it is a truth implied in, and fairly deducible from, many
texts, both in his Gospel and Epistles, I do not, indeed I cannot,
doubt;--but only whether this article of our faith he was commissioned
to declare explicitly?
It grieves me to think that such giant 'archaspistae' of the Catholic
Faith, as Bull and Waterland, should have clung to the intruded gloss (1
'John' v. 7), which, in the opulence and continuity of the evidences, as
displayed by their own master-minds, would have been superfluous, had it
not been worse than superfluous, that is, senseless in itself, and
interruptive of the profound sense of the Apostle.
Ib. p. 272.
He is come, come in the flesh, and not merely to reside for a time, or
occasionally, and to fly off again, but to abide and dwell with man,
clothed with humanity.
Incautiously worded at best. Compare our Lord's own declaration to his
disciples, that he had dwelt a brief while 'with' or 'among' them, in
order to dwell 'in' them permanently.
Ib. p. 286.
It is very observable, that the Ebionites rejected three of the
Gospels, receiving only St. Matthew's (or what they called so), and
that curtailed. They rejected likewise all St. Paul's writings,
reproaching him as an apostate. How unlikely is it that Justin should
own such reprobates as those were for fellow-Christians!
I dare avow my belief--or rather I dare not withhold my avowal--that
both Bull and Waterland are here hunting on the trail of an old blunder
or figment, concocted by the gross ignorance of the Gentile Christians
and their Fathers in all that respected Hebrew literature and the
Palestine Christians. I persist in the belief that, though a refuse of
the persecuted and from neglect degenerating Jew-Christians may have
sunk into the mean and carnal notions of their unconverted brethren
respecting the Messiah, no proper sect of Ebionites ever existed, but
those to whom St. Paul travelled with the contributions of the churches,
nor any such man as Ebion; unless indeed it was St. Barnabas, who in his
humility may have so named himself, while soliciting relief for the
distressed Palestine Christians;--"I am Barnabas the beggar." But I will
go further, and confess my belief that the (so-called) Ebionites of the
first and second centuries, who rejected the 'Christopaedia', and whose
Gospel commenced with the baptism by John, were orthodox Apostolic
Christians, who received Christ as the Lord, that is, as Jehovah
'manifested in the flesh'. As to their rejection of the other Gospels
and of Paul's writings, I might ask:--"Could they read them?" But the
whole notion seems to rest on an anachronical misconception of the
'Evangelia'. Every great mother Church, at first, had its own Gospel.
Ib. p. 288.
To say nothing here of the truer reading ("men of your nation"), there
is no consequence in the argument. The Ebionites were Christians in a
large sense, men of Christian profession, nominal Christians, as
Justin allowed the worst of heretics to be. And this is all he could
mean by allowing the Ebionites to be Christians.
I agree with Bull in holding [Greek: apo tou hymeterou genous] the most
probable reading in the passage cited from Justin, and am by no means
convinced that the celebrated passage in Josephus is an interpolation.
But I do not believe that such men, as are here described, ever
professed themselves Christians, or were, or could have been, baptized.
Ib. p. 292.
Le Clerc would appear to doubt, whether the persons pointed to in
Justin really denied Christ's divine nature or no. It is as plain as
possible that they did.
Le Clerc is no favourite of mine, and Waterland is a prime favourite.
Nevertheless, in this instance, I too doubt with Le Clerc, and more than
Ib. p. 338.
[Greek: Phusei de taes phthoras prosgenomenaes, anagkaion aen hoti
sosai Boulomenos ae taen phthoropoion ousian aphanisas touto de ouk
aen heteros genesthai ei maeper hae kata phusin zoae proseplakae to
taen phthoran dexameno, aphanizousa men taen phthoran, athanaton de
tou loipou to dexamenon diataerousa. k.t.l.]--Just. M.
Here Justin asserts that it was necessary for essential life, or life
by nature, to be united with human nature, in order to save it.