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Son is an instrumental creator, is this instrument eternal or not? If he is eternal, I must ascribe unto him absolute perfection, and then he is possessed of infinite power. If he is not eternal, then he is a created being; and yet the creator of all things, visible and invisible--an instrumental self-creating creator and creature; but this is a most palpable absurdity. Is it not more rational, seeing we must acknowledge that Christ is the creator of all things, visible and invisible, and that he upholds all things by the word of his power, and that all things were made by him and for him; I say, is it not more rational to confess that he is possessed of eternal and almighty power, and that this power was exercised by him in the work of creation, than have recourse to such a lame hypothesis? But that Christ is possessed of almighty power we cannot deny, unless we are disposed to contradict the apostle, when he asserts that “in Jesus dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily.” Col. ij. 9.
There are, indeed, two texts of scripture which are considered by some as an argument in favour of the above-mentioned hypothesis of instrumental creation. The first is the ninth verse of the ninth chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians, viz.: “ And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” The second passage is in the epistle to the Hebrews, first chapter and second verse, viz.: “ By whom also he made the worlds." The first of these texts relates, we presume, to the new birth, the new creation, the renovation of the hearts of men. In this sense the word, create, is used in other places of this epistle, as is sufficiently obvious; and the word, created, may be taken in this sense, in the text above quoted. In the Divine economy of salvation, the Father is said to do several things by his Son, acting in the mediatorial capacity; but this is no proof that the Son is inferior to the Father; nay, what the Son does in this capacity is
a proof of his almighty power. As to the other text, " by whom also he made the worlds," some have en deavoured to explain it in the same way; but I have no objection to consider it as relating to the work of creation in a natural sense, though I do not pretend to say that it is necessary so to do; but, admitting that both these passages relate to the work of creation in a natural sense, what do they prove? They do not prove that the Son is a creature; do they prove that the power by him exercised in creating all things, creating the worlds, is not almighty? Do they prove that it is not eternal, and that the things that are made are not a demonstration of his eternal power and godhead? It is sufficient, to prove the almighty power of Jesus Christ, that all things were created by him : if he exercises almighty power, then he is almighty.
Though we may not be able to aseertain the precise meaning of the apostle in the above two texts, yet we can plainly see that they do not support an absurd hypothesis; and that they do not contradict, because they were not intended to contradict, those declarations of scripture in which the Son is directly addressed, and spoken of, as the creator of all things.
Can we think that the apostle meant to deny the omnipotence of him that laid the foundations of the earth? Can we think that the psalmist did not praise the Almighty Creator when he says, “of old hast thou laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands ?” Which words are applied to Christ by the apostle, in the epistle to the Hebrews: yea, they are to be considered as addressed to the Son by the Father, saying; “ Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thine hands." Farther, be that made all things, made them for himself. Creation gives him a complete property in the oreatures; they are his, because he made them: 6 the heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; as
for the world, and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.” Now all things were made by the Son, and for him, and by him all things consist : “ all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."
The resurrection of the dead, at the coming, and by the power of Christ, will be a glorious demonstration of his almighty power; and as the scripture assures us that the dead shall be raised, and that Christ is the person who will raise the dead, change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious body, “according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself,” (Philip. iii. 21); so we have here full evidence of his almighty power.
Moses, in his account of the creation, says, that the Elohim created the heaven and the earth. This word Elohim is in the plural number, and construed with a verb in the singular number; and this is no obscure intimation that the work of creation was performed by more persons than one, and that these are one God. The Elohim said, “Jet us make man in our image."* There is only one Gorł, but in
* “No sensible reason can be given why God should speak of himself in the plural number, unless he consists of more persons than
Dr. Clarke, who is deservedly placed at the head of the Arian disputants in this kingdom, contrived the plan of his “Scripture-Doctrine" so as to leave out this difficulty, with many more of the same kind. Others there are who tell us it is a figurative way of speaking, only to express the dignity of God, not to denote any plurality in him. For, they observe, it is customary for a king, who is only one person, to speak of himself in the same style. But how absurd is it, that God should borrow his way of speaking from a king, before man was created on the earth ! And even granting this to be possible, yet the cases will not agree. For though a King or Governor may say us and we, there is certainly no figure of speech that will allow any single person to say one of us, when he speaks only of himself. It is & phrase that can have no meaning, unless there be more persons than one to choose out of. Yet this, as we shall find, is the style in which God has spoken of himself in the following article: “And the Lord God said, 'behold the man is become like one of us. Though it be impossible to apply this plural expression to any but the Persons of the Godhead, there is a writer who has attempted to turn the force
the Godhead there are three persons; these persons are called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These three are one God. “ For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one." Though the authenticity of this text has been controverted, yet it has not been proved that it is spurious; on the contrary, there are many evidences of its authenticity;* but without it there is scripture
of it by another text, in which he says, very truly, the weakness of the argument will appear at sight. God invites the people, by the prophet Isaiah, and says,
“ Come now and let us reason together.” Upon which he remarks, that “ if this form of expression puts the children of Israel upon an equality with God, then we may allow some force in this argument.”—(See an Appeal to the common sense of all Christian people). And so we may if it does not. For, let us reason, refers to an act common to all spirits; and therefore no Christian ever thought of arguing from it. But let us make man refers only to an act of the Godhead. All spirits can reason ; but only the supreme Spirit can create. Therefore, the author, instead of answering the expression, hath only brought together two texts as widely different as God and
If the King were to say to another, “let us see,” or “let us breathe, no man would be so weak as to think that the expression denoted any equality or co-ordination in the person so spoken to. But if he should say, " let us pardon a malefactor condemned by the law," then the expression would admit of such an inference. And the objector might have been aware of these distinctions, if he had not prematurely settled his faith before he had consulted the holy scriptures.”'-Junes on the Trinity.
Ep. “ There has been much disputing about the authenticity of this passage of scripture. I firmly believe it to be genuine, for the following reasons. 1. St. Jerom, who had a better opportunity of examining the true merits of the cause than we can possibly have at this distance of time, tells us plainly that he found out how it had been adulterated, mistranslated, and omitted, on purpose to elude the truth.-2. The divines of Louvain having compared many Latin copies, found this text wanting but in five of them; and R. Stephens found it retained in nine of sixteen ancient manuscripts which he used.-3. It is certainly quoted twice by St. Cyprian, who wrote before the council of Nice; and also by Tertullian, as the reader is left to judge after he has read the passage in the margin, (“connexus patris in filio, et filii in paracleto, tres efficit cohærentes, alterum, ex altero ; qui tres unum sunt, &c. adv. Prax.') Dr. Clarke, therefore, is not to be credited when he tells us it was " never cited by any of the Latins before St. Jerom.'-4. The sense is not perfect without it; there being a contrast of three wite
enough to prove the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity. The Father is called Jehovah, the Son is called Jehovah, and the Spirit is called Jehovah, yet Jehovah, the living and true God, is one God. That the Father is Creator none will deny; that the Son is Creator, and that the Spirit is Creator, is not to be denied without contradicting the holy scriptures; and though we do not pretend to know the system of order observed by the Divine persons in the Godhead, in the work of creation, (for the ways and works of God are unsearchable) yet we know that creation is the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that the things that are made are a demonstration of eternal power, almighty power and godhead; and that, therefore, the power of the Son, which we here particularly intend to prove, is eternal and almighty
If what has been said concerning the power of Christ, as evidenced in the works of creation and providence, if his having created all things, and his present upholding all things by the word of his power, and his being able even to subdue all things to himself, should seem precarious, and insufficient to prove that he is intitled to the attribute almighty, there are many texts of scripture in which this attribute is directly ascribed to the Son of God.
In the first chapter of the revelation of John, we find these remarkable words: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” In these words are contained the Divine attributes of eternity and omnipotence; of this there can be no doubt : the only question is, who is the
nesses in heaven to three upon earth; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, whose testimony is called the witness of God; and the Spirit, the water, and the blood, which, being administered by the church upon earth, is called the witness of men.
He that desires to see this text farther vindicated from the malice of Faustus Socinus, may consult Pole's Synopsis, Dr. Hammond, and Dr. Delany's Sermons.”-Ibid.