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of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.
JOHN xvii. 3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. The proper and personal unity of the Supreme Being, being a doctrine of the greatest importan ce in th system of revealed religion, it is highly necessary that the proofs and evidences of it with which the sacred scriptures abound, should be exhibited in their full extent ; and that the fallacies and sophistry of those, who pervert and explain away the plain and obvious meaning of the word of God, should be detected and exposed ; in order, if possible, to bring back the professors of Christianity to the ac. knowledgement of a truth, from which they have so long and so strangely deviated. There is no part of scripture that affords a fuller proof of this important article, than the words of our text. For which reason at our first entrance upon this subject, we adopted them as the ground. work and basis of our reasoning, and proposed by an appeal to the scriptures at large, to enforce and establish the following propositions, viz.
First, that there is one person, or intelligent agent, who alone is God, supreme, almighty, and éternal; and that this one person is the Father, or, as he is sometimes called in scripture, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. • This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God'
Secondly, that Jesus Christ is not the most high God;
but a being inferior to him, dependent upon him, and acting by his command and authority; or in other words, his Son, Servant, and Messenger, and by the Father's appointment, the Messiah, or only Mediator between God and man. "That they might know Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.'
And thirdly and lastly, to consider and answer the objections, that the Trinitarians make to our hypothesis, and urge in support of their own, founded on various places both of the Old and New Testament.
The first of these propositions has been already fully considered and proved; and the second we have had twice before us, as the subject of our disquisitions. In our fifth discourse, we urged a variety of scriptural arguments against the notion of Jesus Christ being the most high God. From his having no will of his own, but being always governed and directed by the will of his heavenly Father; from his being sent of God the Father; from his declaring that he could do nothing of himself ; but that all his miracles were performed by the Father dwelling in him, or by the spirit of God; from his receiving commands from God the Father, and giving an unreserved obedience to these commands: from his praying to the Father with earnest. ness, fervour and subinission : from his being styled the image of the invisible God:' from his being called the • first born of every creature,' and his calling himself. the beginning of the creation of God:' from his being tempted of the devil: from his being called a priest and a high priest so often, by the author of the Epistle to the Hea brews : from his exclamation during his sufferings uponthe cross : from his declaring, that he had not the disposal of the highest places in his own mediatorial kingdom: from his having a God, a head, or superior; and from his being declared to be the possession or property of God: and last of all, from its being so repeatedly and emphatically affirmed in scripture, that he was raised from the dead by God or the Father.
We have still some cogent and striking arguments to ad. vance on this part of our subject. But before we produce them, it behoves us to consider more particularly the
supposed distinction of natures, which the Trinitarians affirm to have been in Jesus Christ; and wherewith they endea.
vour to invalidate the force of our proofs; and evade the strength of our arguments, which otherwise would be irresistible. It is true, this notion is absurd and contradictory in itself ; and in our last discourse we said enough to discredit it, in the judgment of any sensible and considerate person.
But as our opponents have recourse to it, on all occasions, as their last refuge, it seems necessary to consider it more distiactly, and to shew that it has no more foundation in scripture, than in the nature and reason of things; but is merely an assumed arbitrary hypothesis ; a groundless and an unwarrantable distinction, invented to support an otherwise indefensible cause; and which is entirely unauthorized by the original records of our religion.
Many of the ancients, in the first and second centuries of the Christian church, had a different method of considering the nature of man, from what we have at present. They supposed human nature to be divided into three parts. viz. The areuma or ves, the spirit or rational and divine part; the yuxn, the soul or sensitive part; and the coua or capus, the body or fleshly part. Justin Martyr makes express mention of these three parts, as does Irenæus, Tatian, and Athenagoras also, and Melito wrote a book concerning the soul, body, and spirit, which is now lost. There is even a plain allusion to this ancient division of man, in the word of God itself. . 1 Thes. v. 23.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly : and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preser. ved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.* The modern division of man is different from this. We do not usually distinguish betwixt the soul and the spirit, as the ancients did ; but consider them as one and the same. Human nature, according to the modern ideas of it (which most generally prevail), consists only of a material body, or fleshly part; and a soul, or sentient principle, which informs, animates, and governs this body. The Trinitarians affirm, that our Lord Jesus Christ had the complete human nature, a body such as ours composed of flesh and blood, and a rational soul like ours also : and that besides these, he had the second person of the Trinity, who (say they) is God the Son equal with the Father, hypostatically or personally united to the human soul : and
consequently incarnate in the human body as well as the soul; and that these two natures make one person in Christ. This is the very notion which the Athanasian creed inculcates ; and which has been adopted as to the substance of it, by all Trinitarians in general. I shall therefore quote the words of that creed: as giving a just account of the opinion I intend to oppose. 66 Further more, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man: God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds : and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world ; perfect God, and perfect man, of a reason. able soul, and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood. Who although he be God and man : yet he is not two, but one Christ ; one, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and man is one Christ." So far the creed commonly, though erroneously, ascribed to Athanasius.
The reasoning of this creed may, perhaps, be admired by those, who learn their religion by rote ; and never think at all upon the consequences of what they affirmé But it requires very little natural logic, to perceive a string of contradictions and inconsistencies following one another in this quotation ; and rendering it incapable of belief. 6. The right faith is (says this unknown writer) that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds, and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world, &c.” We have already sufficiently confuted the notion of Jesus Christ being begotten of the Father's essence or substance ; and being called the son of God on that account. We shall now shew, that although such an eternal and consubstan. țial son of God equal with the Father really existed ; yet, it is utterly impossible, that any hypostatical or personal union could take place betwixt him and a man.