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Again, the Son himself acknowledges and declares openly, that the Father is greater than the Son; which was the last proposition I undertook to prove. John x. 29. my Father is greater than all." xiv. 28. " my Father is greater than I."3 It will be answered, that Christ is speaking of his human nature. But did his disciples understand him as speaking merely of his human nature? Was this the belief in himself which Christ required? Such an opinion will scarcely be maintained. If therefore he said this, not of his human nature only, (for that the Father was greater than he in his human nature could not admit of a doubt), but in the sense in which he himself wished his followers to conceive of him both as God and man, it ought undoubtedly to be understood as if he had said, My Father is greater than I, whatsoever I am, both in my human and divine nature; otherwise the speaker would not have been he in whom they believed, and instead of teaching them, he would only have been imposing upon them with an equivocation. He must therefore have intended to compare the nature with the person, not the nature of God the Father with the nature of the Son in his human form. So v. 31. as the Father gave me commandment, even so, I do." John v. 18, 19. Being accused by the Jews of having made himself equal with God, he expressly denies it: "the Son can do nothing of himself," v. 30. " as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of my Father which sent me.' ." vi. 38. "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.' Now he that was sent was the only begotten Son; therefore the will of the Father is other and greater than the will of the only begotten Son. vii. 28. "Jesus cried in the temple, saying.... I am not come of myself." viii. 29. "he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." If he says this as God, how could he be left by the Father, with whom he was essentially one? if as man, what is meant by his being left alone, who was sustained by a Godhead of equal power? And why did not the Father leave him alone?
3 A satisfactory explanation of this and similar passages, by referring to the relative character of Christ, in his nature and subsistence as a Son, will be found in the Defence of Sherlock's Notion of a Trinity in Unity, p. 29, and in Jenkins On the Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, Vol. II. Ch. xxvi.
not because he was essentially one with him, but because he did always those things that pleased him, that is, as the less conforms himself to the will of the greater. v. 42. "neither came I of myself,"—not therefore of his own Godhead, but he sent me he that sent him was therefore another and
greater than himself. v. 49. "I honour my Father." v. 50. "I seek not mine own glory." v. 54. "if I honour myself, my glory is nothing;" it is therefore less than the Father's glory. x. 24, 25. "if thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.... the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." xv. 10. "as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." xvi. 25. " the time cometh when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father." xx. 17. "I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God." Compare also Rev. i. 11. "I am Alpha and Omega," and v. 17. "I am the first and the last." See also ii. 8. iii. 12. "him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God," which is repeated three times successively. Here he, who had just before styled himself the first and the last, acknowledges that the Father was his God. Matt. xi. 25, 26. "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth; because thou hast hid these things, &c. even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
Thus far we have considered the testimony of the Son respecting the Father; let us now enquire what is the testimony of the Father respecting the Son: for it is written, Matt. xi. 27. "no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." 1 John v. 9. "this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son." Here the Father, when about to testify of the Son, is called God absolutely; and his witness is most explicit. Matt. iii. 17. "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Isai. xlii. 1. compared with Matt. xii. 18. "behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him:"'-see also Matt. xvii. 5. 2 Pet. i. 17. "for he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Mai. iii. 1. “even the messenger of the covenant, behold he shall
come, saith Jehovah of hosts ;" and still more clearly Psal. ii. where God the Father is introduced in his own person as explicitly declaring the nature and offices of his Son. Psal. vii. 8, 11, 12. "I will declare the decree; Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son.... ask of me and I shall give.... serve Jehovah.... kiss the Son." Heb. i. 8, 9. "unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever... thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." To the above may also be added the testimony of the angel Gabriel, Luke i. 32. "he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." If, then, he be the Son of the Most High, he is not himself the Most High.
The apostles every where teach the same doctrine; as the Baptist had done before them. John i. 29. "behold the Lamb of God." v. 33, 34. “I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, &c. and I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." iii. 32. "what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth," &c. -not he alone that was earthly, nor did he speak only of earthly things, but he that is above all, and that cometh from heaven, v. 31. lest it should be still contended that this and similar texts refer to the human nature of Christ. 2 Cor. iv. 4, 6. "lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Col. i. 15. "who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." Philipp. ii. 6. "in the form of God." Heb. i. 2. "whom he hath appointed heir." v. 3. "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." The terms here used, being all relative, and applied numerically to two persons, prove, first, that there is no unity of essence, and secondly, that the one is inferior to the other. So v. 4.
being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." 1 Cor. iii. 23. "ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Here, if any where, it might have been expected that Christ would have been designated by the title of God; yet it is only said that he is of God. The same appears even more clearly in what follows; xi. 3. "I would have you know that....the head
of Christ is God." Eph. i. 17. "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. xv. 27. "when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him: and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” Here the usual subterfuge of the opponents of this doctrine, that of alleging the mediatorial office of Christ can be of no avail; since it is expressly declared, that when the Son shall have completed his functions as mediator, and nothing shall remain to prevent him from resuming his original glory as only begotten Son, he shall nevertheless be subject unto the Father.
Such was the faith of the saints respecting the Son of God; such is the tenor of the celebrated confession of that faith ; such is the doctrine which alone is taught in Scripture, which is acceptable to God, and has the promise of eternal salvation. Matt. xvi. 15-19. "whom say ye that I am? and Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God and Jesus answered and said unto him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.... upon this rock I will build my Church.' Luke ix. 20. "the Christ of God." John i. 49, 50. "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." vi. 69. "we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." ix. 35-38. "dost thou believe on the Son of God? he answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? and Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee: and he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him.” xi. 22, 26, 27. "I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee: whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die believest thou this? she saith unto him, Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." xvi. 27, 30, 31. "the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God: now are we sure that thou knowest all things; by this we believe that thou camest forth from God." xvii. 3, 7, 8, 21. "this is life eternal that they might know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent: now they have known that all things, whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee; for I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." xx. 31. "these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through his name." Acts viii. 37. "if thou believest, thou mayest.... I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Rom. x. 9. "if thou shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Col. ii. 2. "that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ." Philipp. iv. 6, 7. "let your requests be made known upto God: and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." 1 Pet. i. 21. "who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." 1 John iv. 15. "whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." v. 1. "whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." v. 5. "who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Finally, this is the faith proposed to us in the Apostles' Creed, the most ancient and universally received compendium of belief in the possession of the Church.
CHAP. VI.-OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
HAVING Concluded what relates to the Father and the Son, the next subject to be discussed is that of the Holy Spirit,
The following remarkable passage occurs in the Treatise of True Religion, &c., which was Milton's last publication, and did not appear till the year before his death :- The Arian and Socinian are charged to dispute against the Trinity; yet they affirm to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to Scripture and the Apostolic Creed. As for the terms of Trinity, Triunity, Coessentiality, Tripersonality, and the like, they reject them as scholastic notions, not to be found in Scripture.' Prose Works, II. 512.