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Operation (which was the opinion of Dr. Wallis, and that which was generally ascribed to the ancient Sabellians), with respect to one of which the same divine Being was called the Father, to- another the TSon, and another the Holy Spirit; there is no proper trinity at ali. For on the fame principle ons man, bearing three disferent osfice?, or having three different relations or capacities, as those of magistrate, father, son, &c. would be three differert men.
Some represent themselves as believing the doctrine of the trinity by asserting with Dr. Doddridge*, that " God is so united to the derived "nature of Christ, and does so dwell in it, that, "by virtue of that union, Christ may be properly V called God, and such regards become due to him, '* as are not due to any created nature, or mere "creature, be it in itself ever so excellent."
What this union i?, in consequence of which any creature can be entitled to the attributes and honours of his. creator, is not pretended to be explained; but as we cannot possibly have any idea of an union between God and a creature, besides that of God being present with that creature, and acting by him, which is the fame thing that is asserted by the Brians or Socintans, these nominal trinitarians must necessarily belong to one or other of these two classes. This is so evident, that it is hardly possible
^S. * See his Lectures, proposition 128, p. 392.
He not to suppose but that they must have been much assisted at least in deceiving themselves into a belief that they were trinitarians, by the influence which a dread of the odium and other inconveni , ences attending the Arian or Socinian doctrine had on their minds. The presence of God the Father with any creature, whether it be called an union with him, or it be expressed in any other manner whatever, can be nothing more than the unity of the Father in that creature; and whatever it be that God voluntarily imparts, he may withdraw again at pleasure. And what kind of divinity must that be, which is dependent upon the will of another?
Upon none of the modifications, therefore, which have been mentioned (and all others may be reduced to these) can the doctrine of the trinity, or of three divine persons in one God be supportedIn most of them the doctrine itself is lost, and where it remains it is inconsistent with reason and common sense.
II. Arguments From Reason Against The
The Arian doctrine, of the world having been made and governed not by the supreme God himself, but by Christ, the Son of God, though no contradiction in itself, is-, on several accpunts,highly improbable.
Q_ j Our
Our reasoning from esfects to causes carries tis no farther than to the immediate creator of the visible universe. For if we can suppose that being to have had a cause, or author, we may suppose that his cause or author had a higher cause, and so on ad infinltum. According to the light of nature,, therefore, the immediate cause or author of the vi—* sible universe is the self-existent first cause, and not any being acting under him, as his instrument. However, the scheme itself is not naturally impossible, since a being possessed of power sufficient to produce the visible universe, which is a limited production, mav he finite, and therefore may derivehis power, and his being, from one who is superior to him. But though the Arian scheme cannot besaid to be in itself impossible,, it is, on several accounts, extremely improbable a priori, and therefore ought not to be admitted without very strongand clear evidence.
If this great derived' being, the supposed maker and governor of the world, was united to a human body, he must either have retained, and have exercised, his extraordinary powers during this union,, or have been divested os them-; and either supposition has its peculiar difficulties and improbabilities..
If this great being retained his proper powers during this union, he must have been.sustaining the whole universe, 2nd superintending all'the laws of nature,, while he was an.-infant at the breast of his
Kiother, and while he hung upon the cross. And to imagine the creator of the world to have been in those circumstances is an idea at which the mind revolts, almost as much as at that of the supreme God himself being reduced to them .
Besides, if Christ retained, and exercised all hisformer powers in this state of apparent humiliation,, he must have wrought all his miracles by a power properly his own, a power naturally belonging to him, as much as the power of speaking and walking belongs to any other man. But this was expressly disclaimed by our Saviour, when he said, that of Inmfelf he could do nothing, and that it was the Father within him tvho did the works. Also, on this supposition, it must have been this super-angelic being united to the body of Jesus, that raised him from the dead; whereas this is an esfect which is> always ascribed to God the Father only.
If, on the other hand, Christ was divested of his original powers, or emptied himself of them upon his incarnation, the whole system of the government of the universe must have been changed during his residence upon earth. Either some other derived' being (which this scheme does not provide)' must have taken his place, or the supreme being himself must have condescended to do that which thescheme supposes there was an impropriety in hisdoing. For certainly the making and the governing of the world would not have been delegated to•
another, if there had not been some good reason in) the nature of things (though it be unknown to us, and may be undiscoverable by us) why the world should have been made and governed by a derived being, and not by the supreme being himself. And this reason, whatever it was, must, as far as w& can judge, have operated during the time that Christ was upon the earth, as well as before.
I f Christ was degraded to the state of a mere man during his humiliation on earth, reason will ask, why might not a mere man have been susficient; since, notwithstanding his original powers, nothing was, in fact, done by him, more than any other man, aided and assisted by God as he was, might have been equal to?
If we consider the object of Christ's mission, and the beings whom it respected, viz. the race of man, we cannot-but think that there must have been a greater 'propriety, and use, in the appointment of a mere man to that osfice. What occasion? was there for any being superior to man for the purpose of communicating the will of God to man t And as an example of a resurrection to- an immortal lise (to enforce which was the great object off his mission) the death and resurrection of one whc* was properly and simply a man was certainly far better adapted to give men satisfaction concerning their own future resurrection, than the seeming, death (for it could be nothing more) of such a being