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The goodness of God may be brought in to fupport this truth. He that is God is good originally, and effentially; he is the fountain and cause of all goodnefs in and towards others; he is good, and he does good; all the streams of goodness flow from him; and if what our Lord fays is true, as it certainly is, "there is none good but one, that is, God":" then it follows, that if there is but one good, there is but one God.
I might go on to prove the unity of the divine being from the perfection of God. He that is God is perfect in his nature and works. If we suppose more gods than one, there must be some effential difference, by which they are distinguished one from another; and that effential difference must be either an excellency, or an imperfection: if an imperfection, then he, to whom it belongs, cannot be God; because he is not perfect; if it is an excellency, he, in whom it is, is thereby diftinguished from all others, in whom it is wanting; and fo can only be God: take it which way you will, there can be but one God. Moreover, he, that is God, is El Shaddai, God all-fufficient; he stands in need of nothing, nor can he receive any thing from others: "who hath "first given to him, and it shall be recompenfed to him again?" Now allfufficiency cannot be properly. faid of more than one.
Besides, there is but one first cause of all things, and therefore but one God. Men, from the confideration of effects, arrive to the knowledge of causes, and from the confideration of them, to the cause or causes of them, until they come to the first cause of all things, in which they fix and center, and which they truly call God: and thus by the things that are made, the Gentiles may come to the knowledge of the eternal power and Godhead, or of the unity of the divine effence or being; fo that they are without excufe. Now, as there is no reason to believe that there is any more than one firft caufe of all things; fo neither is there any reafon to believe that there is more than one God.
In fine, this may be concluded from the relations of God to his creatures. He is their creator, their king, their judge, and lawgiver: now there is but one creator, who is the first cause of all things. There is but one King of kings, and Lord of lords; but one, whofe is the kingdom, and who is the governor among the nations. From the government of the world, we have no reafon to conclude that there is any more than one governor; neither are there any more lawgivers than one, who is able to fave and to destroy; and but one judge of all the earth, who will do right. As God is one in his nature or effence, and cannot be multiplied or divided, fo he is one in his relation to his creatures. But I go on;.
2dly, That there is but one God may be fufficiently proved from the books of the Old and New Testament.
1. From the books of the Old Teftament. That famous and remarkable paffage in Deut. vi. 4 fully expreffes this truth: "Hear, O Ifrael, the Lord "our God is one Lord." This is one of the fections of the law which the Jews put into their Tephillin or Phylacteries, and bind on their foreheads and arms, to put them in remembrance of their duty. This place of fcripture they read every morning and night, with great devotion; and at every turn, object it to the Chriftians, as afferting the unity of God, to the exclusion of the doctrine of a Trinity of perfons; though to little purpose, as I fhall fhew hereafter. The prophecy of Ifaiah abounds with proofs of this truth. In chap. xliii. 10. God fays: "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall "there be after me." And in chap. xliv. 6. "Thus faith the Lord, the
Lord, the King of Ifrael, and his redeemer, the Lord of hofts; I am the "first, and I am the laft, and befides me there is no God." And in ver. 8. the latter part: "Is there a God befides me? yea, there is no God, I know "not any." And in chap. xlv. 5, 6. "I am the Lord, and there is none else, "there is no God befides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known "me: That they may know from the rifing of the fun, and from the west, "that there is none befides me, I am the Lord, and there is none else." And ver. 14. latter part: Surely God is in thee, and there is none else, there is "no God." So ver. 18, 21, 22. The fame may be observed in chap. xlvi. 9. "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is none else, "I am God, and there is none like me. These are some of the proofs of the unity of the divine being from the Old Teftament; and therefore we need not wonder that the Jews fo clofely adhere to this article.
2. The New Testament is as full and as exprefs for this as the Old Testament. Our Lord Jefus Chrift not only cites that text in Deut. vi. 4. but addreffes God after this manner, John xvii. 3. "This is life eternal to know "thee, the only true God." And the apostles from him, as well as from the writings of the Old Teftament declare, That there is but one God. The apostle Paul fays, in Rom. iii. 30. "It is one God, which shall justify the "circumcifion by faith, and the uncircumcifion through faith :" and in 1 Cor. viii. 6. "To us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, and “we in him; and one Lord Jefus, by whom are all things, and we by him." So Eph. iv. 6. "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all :" and in that famous text, 1 Tim. ii. 5. " For there is
~66 one Vide Talmud, Beracot, fol. 2. 1, 2. & Maimon. Hilch. Keriat Shema, c. 1. §. 1, 2. 9 Mark xii. 29.
"one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Chrift Jefus." And to close this account, the apostle James commends perfons for affenting to this truth, when he fays, chap. ii. 19. "Thou believeft that there is one "God, thou doft well; the devils alfo believe and tremble." I have not made any remarks on these texts of fcripture, because I fhall have occafion to confider them hereafter, and give the sense of them. I now proceed,
Secondly, To explain the sense of this article, or fhew what we mean, when we fay, that there is but one God. And,
1. We do not understand this in an Arian fense; that there is but one fupreme God, and two fubordinate or inferior ones. Those phrases of Scripture, which exprefs the unity of God, are not fo much levelled against the notion of more fupreme gods than one', this being a notion which could never much prevail among the Gentiles; nor is there much danger of people falling into it, feeing the notion is fo abfurd and contradictory; but they are chiefly levelled against the vast number of petty and inferior gods, which men have been inclined to embrace and worship. Nor can any reason be given why two inferior gods should not ftand as much excluded as two hundred, by these expreffions; and why we may not as well allow of the latter as the former. Either thefe two inferior Gods are creators, or creatures; if they are creators, they are the one fupreme God; for to be a creator is peculiar to the supreme God if they are creatures, as there is no medium between a creator and a creature, then "they are the gods that have not made the heavens and the "earth," and therefore shall "perish from the earth and from under these hea"vens:" nor ought they to have religious worship and adoration given them; because to do fo would be a breach of that divine command, "Thou shalt "have no other gods before me';" and would be ferving the creature more than, or befides the creator, complained of in the Gentiles, Rom. i. 25. Nor,
2. Do we understand it in a Sabellian fenfe, that God is but one perfon. For though there is but one God, yet there are three perfons in the Godhead. Though the Father, Word, and Spirit are one, yet not one perfon; because if fo, they could not be three teftifiers. And when our Lord fays, "I and my "Father are one," he cannot mean one person; for he speaks of himself as distinct from the Father, and of the Father as diftinct from himself: and as it would be abfurd to fay, I and myself are one; which he muft mean if there is no distinction of perfons; fo it would be contradictory to fay, that I, who
Vide Dr Waterland's fermons, p. 125, 126. And his firft defence of queries, p. 4, 5.
• Exod. xx. 3.
am one, and my Father, who is another, are one perfon: his meaning is, that they were one in nature, effence, power, and glory. Nor,
3. Do we understand it in a Tritheiftic fenfe; that is to fay, That there are three effences, or beings numerically diftinct, which may be faid to be one effence or being, because they are all three of one and the fame nature: just as three men may be faid to be one man, because they are of the fame human nature. But this is to make three gods, and not one; their effences being numerically diftinct: Whereas,
We say, that there is but one divine effence, which is common and undivided to Father, Son, and Spirit; and in this sense we affert that there is but one God. There is but one effence, though there are different modes of fubfifting in it. A late writer has very wrongly represented us as holding", That the divine nature of Chrift is distinct from the father of spirits; that the divine nature is partly in the father, and partly in the fon; and that the fon of God, in his divine nature, is a part of God. This we cannot but complain of as an injury done us, and must infift that the author retract it. If he thinks that these are consequences justly deducible from our principles, he ought not however to reprefent us as holding them, when we at the fame time utterly difavow them: this is not fair dealing. We fay that the whole divine nature or effence is in the Father; and that the whole divine nature or effence is in the Son; and that the whole divine nature or effence is in the Holy Ghoft; and that it is fimple and undivided, and common to all three.
Moreover, when we, with the fcriptures, affert that there is but one God, we mean that there is but one only true God, in oppofition to all false gods, to the idols of the Heathens; to all nominal gods, or fuch that are only called fo, and are not so really, are not gods by nature and alfo, in oppofition to all figurative or metaphorical gods: thus angels, civil magistrates, and judges, are called gods, because of their exaltation and dignity. Mofes is faid to be a god to Pharaoh, and to Aaron: a man's belly is called his god, when he indulges it in an Epicurean way: and Satan, because of his ufurped dominion, is called the god of this world.
Again, when we say, there is but one God, we thereby design, and so do the fcriptures, to include, and not exclude, the deity of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft; which will appear by confidering the forementioned fcriptures. To begin with
Deut. vi. 4. "Hear, O Ifrael, the Lord our God is one Lord :" which words are truly rendered by the author of "The great concern of Jew and Gentile ;"
The great concern of Jew and Gentile, p. 27, 40, 41, 47, 50.
w Page 1.
"Hear, O Ifrael, Jehovah, our Gods is one Jehovah." And the fame author justly obferves, That "those words spoken by Moses, in fo remarkable a stile, "and after many ages, by Chrift himself, when he appeared in the world, call "for the special regard and attention of fuch, who in all nations, profeffed his "worship, &c." But the account which this author gives of these words, I must be obliged to make fome few ftrictures upon. His fenfe is this: "By "the first mention of the name Jehovah, in this place, I confider him, says he, as the only living and true God, who has one of his names Jealous, "and will not give his glory to another: by the fecond name or character, our "Gods, I confider him in our nature, in his Chrift, the man his fellow; "whom he has taken into union with himself, under the character of the "Word; and having fo done, in the appointed time, made his foul an "offering for fin, for the gracious purpose of our redemption and falvation : "and by the third, that is, the fame facred name, Jehovah, as the first; I understand the fame God, making himself known to his people through his "Chrift, in whom he was to reconcile the world unto himself." I agree with this author in the fenfe of his firft name, Jehovah, as intending the only living and true God; but can by no means affent to his interpretation of the fecond name or character, as he calls it, our Gods; which he makes to be the fame only living and true God, in our nature; which he has taken into union with himself, under the character of the Word. Now by the only living and true God, he means either God personally, or God effentially confidered; not God perfonally confidered, because he difallows of a distinction of persons : I apprehend, therefore, that he means God effentially confidered. Now let it be obferved, that the divine nature or effence, fimply and abfolutely confidered, was not united to the human nature; but as it was in fuch a mode of fubfifting: or in other words, the divine nature, as it fubfifted in the person of the Aoyos, or Word, was united to the human nature. Otherwife, the Father and the Holy Ghoft might be truly faid to be incarnate, and to fuffer, die, and rife again, as well as the Son: whereas it was not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost, but "the Word that was made flesh, and dwelt among us:" it was not the Father, but the Son that was "made of a woman, made under the law." And after all, it is fomewhat fhocking and furprising to me, that the human nature, being united to the divine nature, fhould make a plurality in the Deity, which is the only reafon of this plural expreffion, our Gods, hinted at by this author: for though the human nature, by its union to the divine nature, is greatly exalted and dignified, yet it is not deified; it is not tranfmuted into the fame nature; it is not made a God of; nor does it give any plurality to the Deity. As for the author's fenfe of the third name, Jehovah, I must confefs, VOL. III.
* Ibid. p. 7.