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these citations of the apostle out of the prophets would hardly prove his godhead; nor do I see how they could prove the grandeur and dignity of his person, unless it were granted that the godhead of the Father was his godhead, that Christ and the Father are one in this respect.
4. When Christ expresses his own godhead in the New Testament, it is by declaring his oneness with the Father, that is, the union of the man Christ Jesus with the same godhead that is in the Father. I and the Father are one; John x. 30. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The Father in me doth the works; John xiv. 9, 10. And it must be observed that there is not any place in the New Testament where the miraculous works of Christ are ascribed to any distinct godhead of his own different from the godhead of the Father, or the godhead of the Spirit of God that dwelt in him: And it is not reasonable to suppose that Christ would have always used these modes of speaking, and attributed his own works to the Father and his Spirit, if he himself had another godhead or divine nature different from that of the Father and the Spirit: For why should his miraculous works be attributed to the aids of another infinite spirit which was not united to the man Jesus, and never be ascribed at all to that distinct spirit which is supposed to be united to him? I am sure this sort of representation leads our thoughts away from supposing Christ to have any godhead at all, if it be not the same as the Father's.
5. If the godhead of Christ be another distinct spiritual being different from the godhead of the Father, I do not see any fair and reasonable manner, how the Trinitarians can solve the difficulties which arise from those scriptures, where God the Father is represented as the only true God, and under that idea distinguished from Jesus Christ; as John xvii. 3. To know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 1 Cor. viii. 6. To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things. Eph. iv. 5, 6. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Now we can scarce suppose the highest nature of Jesus Christ to be another infinite spirit distinct from God the Father, without excluding it from godhead by these express scriptures: but they may easily be explained to admit Christ's godhead, if we suppose Christ to be spoken of in these places chiefly in his inferior characters as man and mediator; and yet he may be united to, and inhabited by the one true and eternal God, who is at other times called the Father, as being vested with different relative properties, and first in the great economy, as I have sufficiently shewn in other papers.
I add also, those texts in the prophets, where it is said; I
am God, and there is none else, there is none besides me, I know not any; Isa. xliv, 6, 8. and lxv. 21, 22. give a further confirmation to this sentiment. For, whether we suppose the Father or the Son to be the speaker here, it is still with an exclusion of any other being, any other spirit from the claim of godhead besides the one infinite Spirit, the one true and eternal God, the God of Israel; and if our Saviour Jesus Christ be not that one true eternal God, that one and the same infinite Spirit with the Father, these exclusive sentences would hardly admit Christ and the Father too, to be the one true eternal God. It is granted indeed that Christ is another spirit as he is man, and that other, viz. the human spirit, is not in himself properly God; but only by being united to true godhead, even the man Jesus may be so called by the communication of properties. But since the godhead of Christ is still the very same godhead with that of the Father, Christ is not excluded from godhead by these strong exclusive expressions.
6. When our Saviour foretold that his disciples should leave him alone, he adds, John xvi. 32 And yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. Now if his godhead had been distinct or different from the godhead of the Father, he needed not the presence of the Father with him for his support; his own godhead would have been all-sufficient: But if his own godhead be the same with that of the Father, then there is no difficulty in the expression,
There are several places in the New Testament, where the words God, Christ, and the Lord in the same paragraph are used very promiscously, so that one can hardly tell where Christ is spoken of, and where God the Father; particularly, Rom. xiv. 6-12. Other places where God the Father and Christ are called our Saviour promiscuously, and perhaps God our Saviour, &c. Tit. i. 3, ii. 13. Jude verses 4, 25. at least there is some difficulty in such places to determine which is meant; which would hardly have been left liable to so promiscuous a construction, if Christ had not been true God, and if his godhead had not been the same with that of the Father.
8. That the primitive christians worshipped Christ, is sufficiently evident from the sacred history: Yet we never find that the Jews of that day, who were implacably set against them, ever accused them of idolatry, or creature-worship, though that charge would have best served their purpose to blast and destroy this new religion. Nor can we reasonably suppose, that if the Jews had made this objection, the sacred writers would have omitted to tell us so, because this would have been so important and forcible an objection against christianity, that it would have required a very particular answer, that so christians in all ages might have been taught to defend their practice.
Thence we must infer, that when the primitive christians worshipped Christ, they cannot be supposed to worship a mere creature, or any other but the true God of Israel; for the Jews would then certainly have charged them with creature-worship or idolatry. Now this true God of Israel was God represented as the Creator, the Author, and the Father of all; it was that God who sustains the supreme character of dominion and majesty, and maintains the dignity and the rights of godhead; it was that God who so often foretold the sending of his Son Jesus Christ, and this is God the Father. It is therefore this one godhead, which is in the Father, which is the same with the godhead of his Son Jesus Christ, but under a distinct personality: It is the same one God whom the christians worshipped, when they worshipped Christ as God manifest in the flesh. It was the same divine nature or godhead which the ancient Jews had been used to worship, as dwelling in the cloud of glory upon the mercy-seat, and was now come to dwell in flesh and blood, to become Emmanuel," God with us, to become God manifest in the flesh." Now there is such a mutual inhabitation and personal union between the one eternal God, and a creature in the person of Christ, as renders this complex person a proper object of worship, and this stands clear of idolatry, even in the sense of the Jews themselves, who were wont to worship God as dwelling in the cloud.
And indeed this is the only notion of the worship of Christ that could possibly agree with their own law, and with their first commandment given in Sinai, and with all their own former ideas of worship, as due only to the one God: and it is the only notion that could have been received by them without difficulty and opposition. If therefore the Son or Word, be truly God, this godhead must be the same in substance with the godhead of the Father whom the Jews worshipped, otherwise he would be another God, and the Jews, could not have failed to charge the christians with gross idolatry. Upon the whole therefore there seems just reason to conclude, that whatever sacred and unknown distinctions may be in the divine nature itself, and however these distinctions may lay a foundation for God's discovery of himself under three personal characters, as the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, yet the godhead of the Father seems to be the same one infinite and eternal spirit which in some particular principle or power of its own nature, or under some peculiar distinction or relation, is united to the man Christ Jesus; and hereby Jesus becomes one with God, one complex intelligent agent or person, and hereby Christ comes to have a right to those divine titles, the Lord God, the Almighty, Jehovah, the God of Abrabam, Isaac and Jacob, &c.
And by this means the great and fundamental article of all
religion, the unity of the true God, is maintained inviolable: And thus we must effectually preclude all the objections and cavils of the Arian and Socinian writers against the doctrine of the blessed Trinity, and the deity of Christ, as though this doctrine introduced more gods than one. For if we suppose the man Jesus Christ in his soul and body to be both an intellectual and corporeal shekinah or habitation of the one God, the God of Israel, we may justly call Jesus Christ, God manifest in the Hesh; 1 Tim. iii. 16. a man in whom dwells all the fulness of the godhead bodily; Col. ii. 9. a man of the seed of David, and yet God over all blessed for ever; Rom. i. 3. ix. 5. Nor is there so much as the appearance or shadow of our owning two or three gods, which has been too often, and with some appearance of reason charged upon some other modes of explaining this sacred doctrine.
QUEST. V. Is there an intimate union between the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.
THOUGH I do not remember that the words, unite, or union*, are any where found expressly in the writings of the New Testament, yet the idea which is designed by these words is often found in scripture and it is the usual custom of the sacred writers to express this idea of the union of several things together by being one with another, or by one being in another, and sometimes by each being in the other mutually.
The union between the body and the soul is represented by the soul's being in the body; 2 Cor. v. 6. at home in the body; and xii. 3. whether in the body, or out of the body, &c. The union of saints to God is expressed by mutual inbeing; 1 John iv. 16. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God dwelleth in him. Our union to Christ is often expressed by Christ being in us and our being in Christ; John xv. 4, 5. Rom. xvi. 7. and being in the Lord, verse 11. and in many other places. Sometimes union is expressed by both being one: so the saints who are all united in one common head are called one body and one bread; 1 Cor. x. 17. And as the union between man and wife is expressed by their being one flesh; 1 Cor. vi. 16. so he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, verse 17. The union between Jesus Christ and God the Father is expressed by all these ways, viz. by an inbeing of Christ in the Father, and the Father in him, and by oneness with the Father, in the writings of the apostle John. See John x. 38. I and my Father
* It is granted that vorn, or unity is twice found in the New Testament, viz. Eph. iv. 3, 13. but new or weg is not used by the sacred writers: Nor is wor used to signify the union of two things together into one.
are one; John v. 38. and xiv. 11. I am in the Father, and the Father in me.
But let it be always remembered that our union to God or Christ is but a mere faint shadow or resemblance of the union of Christ to God the Father; which vastly surpasses ours, and is of a superior kind. This union between Christ and God the Father is so near, so intimate, so peculiar, as gives occasion for the New Testament to cite and apply to Christ many passages out of the Old Testament: which relate to the God and Father, of all. The names, the characters, the properties, and the actions of the Father are given to Christ in several instances and forms of expression, which are not true, nor can be admitted concerning our union to God.
Though there be but one godhead, and one God, even the Father; 1 Cor. viii. 6. yet by the intimate union of the man Christ Jesus with this one godhead or divine nature which is in the Father, Christ is the Lord Jehovah, he is God manifest in the flesh; 1 Tim. iii. 16. he is God over all blessed for ever; Rom. ix. 5. which would be blasphemy to say concerning christians. So Christ is he that searches the hearts and the reins; Rev. ii. 23. Christ is the alpha and omega, the first and the last; Rev. i. 11. What the Father doth, the Son doth also in many respects: The Father created all things, so did the Son: and what the Son doth, the Father is said to do; John xiv. 10. The Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works.
It may not be amiss here to transcribe a few verses from this chapter; John xiv. in order to give us a clearer idea of this union and communion between the Father and Christ; since it is the design of our Lord in this place to instruct Thomas and Philip in the knowledge of God the Father and of himself; John xiv. 7—11. " If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: And from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10. Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: But the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works. 11. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake." Upon this scripture I beg leave to make these three remarks:
Remark I. This is not spoken concerning the union, the inbeing, or indwelling of any distinct divine nature of Christ, in the divine nature of the Father, but rather concerning the union