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God, and the same be ever applied to Christ; or if the same act should be ascribed to them both, it is with him a proof that Christ must be God; without considering that the same language and the same actions may be ascribed to God, and also to man, in different senses.
Thus, because we read in Isaiah xliii. 11, "I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour;" and Christ is also called a Saviour, (as in 2 Peter iii. 18, "Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,") he concludes that Christ must be God, saying, "Unless he were God, even the Lord Jehovah, as well as man, he could not be a Saviour, because the Lord has declared there is no Saviour besides himself. It is therefore rightly observed by the apostle, Phil. ii. 9, that God in dignifying the man Christ with the name of Jesus, has given him a name above every name, even that of a Saviour, which is his own name, and such as can belong to no other."*
But, by the very same argument, Moses, and many other persons, might be proved to be God, because they are called Saviours, having been made the means of delivering the people of Israel, or others, from some of the difficulties in which they were involved, as in Neh. ix. 27: "Thou gavest them Saviours, who saved them," &c. In the same sense Christ is also properly called a Saviour, as having been the instrument in the hand of God of saving mankind from sin, and from death, the consequence of sin; and that Christ was no more than the instrument in the hands of God for this end, is as evident, and as clearly expressed in the Scriptures, as that Moses was his instrument in delivering the people of Israel from Egypt. They are both said to be sent, or commissioned, by God, for the purpose.
On the same principle Mr. Jones argues, that because we read, John iii. 16, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son," and, Eph. v. 25," Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it," that Christ and God must be the same. He well observes, in his advertisement, that "his arguments are, to the best of his knowledge, most of them, new." Indeed, I should have thought it very extraordinary, if the comparison of these two texts had suggested the same argument to any other individual person besides himself; though when suggested by him, it may have approved itself to the better sense of the Dean of Canterbury.
* Catholic Doctrine. v. 3. (P.)
† Ibid. p. 18. (P.)
In reply to it, it can hardly be necessary to inform you, Gentlemen, that God might love the world, and having the power to dispose of Christ, as of all his other creatures, as he pleased, might send him, give him, or appoint him, for the purpose of saving the world from ignorance and vice, at the same time that Christ, engaging in this benevolent undertaking with the same readiness and cheerfulness with which all persons ought to obey the commands of God, and being a man himself, and, as such, having the most sincere goodwill and compassion towards his fellow-men, might also love them, and be said to give himself for them. As Paul likewise, and other apostles, loved the church, and gave their lives for it, which it is evident they did, whether that particular language be ever used with respect to them in the Scriptures or not, Mr. Jones might prove from this circumstance, that they are also each of them God, equal to the Father.
Mr. Jones even argues that Christ is of a divine nature, because, in 2 Peter i. 4, Christians are said to be " partakers of the divine nature,' "* and, in Heb. iii. 14, they are said to be " partakers of Christ."+ Therefore, says he, "Christ is in, or of the divine nature, the same Almighty God and Lord who declared to Abraham, I am thy shield, and exceeding great reward;' so that these being compared together, are decisive for the Catholic Homoousion doctrine, at which the Arians, from the Council of Nice to this very day, have been so greviously offended."+
Mr. Jones was not, perhaps, aware that, by this mode of reasoning, he was supplying the Roman Catholics with a new argument for their doctrine of Transubstantiation. But if every thing of which Christians are said to be partakers be the same, the sacramental bread must be concluded to be Christ himself; for it is said, (1 Cor. x. 17,)" We are all partakers of that one bread."§
On these principles also, the distinction in the three persons of the Trinity will be confounded; for, as in Heb. ii. 14, Christians are said to be partakers of Christ; so, in Chap. vi. 4, they are said to be "partakers of the Holy Ghost."
I am still more surprised that Mr. Jones should not have perceived that, according to his mode of interpretation, this text in Peter would authorize him to conclude, that all
* See Vol. XIV. p. 414.
+ Cath. Doct. p. 29. (P.).
+ See ibid. p. 357.
Christians have a proper divine nature, or are consubstantial with the Father; for, in defence of this term, which he acknowledges to be unscriptural, he says, addressing the Arians," And now the Scripture is before us, let me ask them a plain question or two. Is not the word essence or substance of the same signification with the word nature? And have not the fathers of the church thus expounded it, and is not this phrase of the same nature as conclusive for the divinity of Christ, as that other of the same substance? Why then should that expression of the Nicene Creed be thought so offensive, when there is another in the Scripture so near of kin to it, that the Arians must be sensible that they could gain nothing by the exchange? For the divine nature, we all agree, can be but one, three divine natures, of course, making three different Gods. But the Scripture, compared as above, has asserted Christ to be of this divine nature."*
We see here, how much it is in the power of prejudice to make men blind to the most obvious considerations for it is remarkable that the participation of a divine nature is no where so expressly predicated of Christ, as it is by Peter, in this passage, of all Christians: whereas, from the above quotation from Mr. Jones, the reader would have imagined that it was not to Christians, but to Christ only, that this participation was attributed.
I shall conclude my animadversions on Mr. Jones's medium of proof, that God and Christ are the same being, by observing, that on the very same principle God and Satan may be proved to be the same being, since the same action is ascribed to them both; for, in 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, we read, "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, to say, Go, number Israel and Judah;" whereas, in the parallel history, 1 Chron. xxi. 1, we read, " And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."+
As to all the texts of Scripture in which Christ is spoken of as a man, and consequently inferior to the Father, which are without number, Mr. Jones makes himself very easy about them, by saying, that "in the person of Christ there is a human soul and body, the nature of a man, which, as it cannot lay claim to what is spoken of Christ in unity with the Father, so must it receive to its own account whatever seems to degrade and disjoin him from the Father; so that
• Cath. Doct. p. 30. (P.)
+ See Vol. XI. pp. 411, 412, 492.
the true Catholic Faith, which allows him to be perfect God and perfect man, is never offended, or put to its shifts, by any thing the Scripture may have said about him in either capacity." Had it therefore been asserted in the most express terms, and had it been repeated ever so often, that Christ was not God, it would not have staggered Mr. Jones, or put him to any shift at all; as he would instantly have replied, that the meaning was, not that the whole person of Christ, but only the man, the inferior part of him, was not God.
Surely every person must be sensible, that this is putting it absolutely out of our power to make any inference whatever from the language of Scripture, and supposing that the sacred writers had recourse to the most unworthy equivocations; for, by the same rule, if any thing consists of two parts, whatever is asserted as of the whole may be understood of which ever part any person pleases; consequently, it might be truly said of Christ, in contradiction to every thing that is most expressly related of him in the gospel history, that he was never born, that he never died, or never rose from the dead; secretly meaning, that none of these particulars could, with truth, be affirmed of his divine nature.
When Christ, in order to comfort his disciples under the idea of his departure from them, said that his Father (to whom he was going, and who, as God omnipresent, would be always with them) was greater than he, he certainly must have intended that he was greater, not than a part of himself only, but than his whole self. His meaning was, no doubt, the same with that of other pious persons, who, on being separated from their friends by death, commonly say, that they leave them to the care of one who can do more for them than they could.
We have an example of the manner in which Mr. Jones applies the principle I have mentioned, in his interpretation of 1 Cor. xi. 3: The head of Christ is God." name Christ," he says, "does here stand, as in other places out of number, for the man Christ; otherwise it must follow, that as Christ is God, God is the head of himself, which is a contradiction; or that one God is the head of another God, which is also a contradiction."* But can you, Gentlemen, think that by Christ, in this passage, the apostle did not mean the whole of Christ, whatever his nature consisted of, and that God is not here said to be the head of, or
Cath. Doct. p. 23. (P.)
superior to every part of that nature? Mr. Jones might just as well have affirmed that when, in the former part of the same verse, it is said, "The head of every man is Christ," that by man is to be understood, not the whole of man, but only some part of him.
As Mr. Jones is obliged to have recourse to such a miserable abuse of language with respect to the word Christ, he makes no less free with the term Father. For, in his interpretation of 1 Cor. viii. 6, " To us there is but one God, the Father," (a text so decisively in favour of the proper unity of God, in the person of the Father only, that there was no other method of evading the force of it,) he says, "One God the Father is here the name of a nature, under which Christ himself, as God, is also comprehended.† And the same may be proved of it in several other places.' Mr. Jones certainly was not aware of it, but this kind of reasoning is even subversive of the doctrine of the Trinity itself. For, if the term Father comprehend all the persons of the Trinity, it must be synonymous to the term God, and no proof will remain of the existence of such a person as that of the Father; so that the Trinity will be reduced to two persons, viz. the Son and the Holy Spirit. And if his reasoning from the phrase, partaking of the Divine nature, be admitted, these two will be farther reduced to one, viz. the Son, who will then, indeed, be the one God over all.
On this principle also we must suppose, that when Christ prayed to the Father, John xvii. S, as the only true God," he did not address himself to the person of the Father, as any common reader would imagine, but to the Divine nature in general; and, therefore, that his prayer was as much directed to himself as to the Father. Besides, if Mr. Jones be sufficiently authorized to consider the term Father as expressive of the Divine nature in general, why may we not be at liberty to use the term Son and Holy Ghost in the same latitude. And if each of them denote the whole of the Divine nature, the unity of God will be completely established; as we shall then have three different names for the same thing, which will be what is commonly called Sabellianism; according to which, the Father, who sent the Son, was himself the Son that was sent, who was born, and who died.
It is surely sufficient to point out these specimens of Mr. Jones's book, which contains nothing better, to shew you
• See Vol. XIV. p. 80.
+ Cath. Doct. p. 21. (P.)