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word here mentioned means a person, they only denote that that person assumed flesh or a body, and became him. self the soul of it; and if it does not mean a person but an attribute or property, they signify that the reason or wisdom of the Father dwelt in Jesus Christ. Both these interpretations are equally hostile to the scheme of two natures : and one of them must be the sense of the passage.
We shall now sum up all we have said, concerning this erroneous system, in the emphatical words of an eminent advocate for the cause of truth. " It is a thing in itself utterly impossible, that a being should be God and man; Creator and creature; self-existent, eternal, independent, and limited, dependent, and having beginning of existence, at the same time ; omniscient and omnipotent, and yet ignorant and weak. These things are not compatible; we should be shocked at their absurdity, if they were not instilled into us before we begin to make use of our reason, and if many were not afterwards afraid to make use of it about them ; suffering themselves to be dazzled by great names and authorities, and imposed upon by high antiquity, which can give no prescription to what is un. intelligible and impossible. In short, this doctrine of Christ being possessed of two natures, is the fiction of ina genious men, determined at all events to believe Christ to be a different being from what he really was, and uni. formly declared himself to be ; by which they solve such difficulties of scripture as they cannot otherwise get over, and endeavour to prove him to be the most high God, in spite of his own most express and constant declarations to the contrary. And as there is no reasoning with such persons, they are to be considered and pitied, as being under a debility of mind in this respect, however sensible and rational in all others."*.
But to return from this long digression concerning these supposed two natures. In the seventeenth place, Jesus Christ is not the '
most high God; or God in the proper and sublime sense of that word, because, he wants the perfection of supreme and absolute goodness which is es. sential to the Deity. Mat. xix. 16, 17.
16 And behold,
* Mr. Lindsey's Catechist, page 27. iy.
one came and said unto him, Good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life ? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good ? There is none good but one, that is God.' Here we find our Saviour, although a person of the most amiable and spotless cha. racter, refusing the title of good master. It may seem strange at first, that our Lord should reject an appellation of this kind. The person who gave it, probably intended nothing more by it, but a friendly salutation, in testimony of his reverence and respect for our Saviour's person and eminent worth. But Jesus, who sought not his own glory but the glory of him that sent him' declares, that, there is none good but one, that is God. He was sensible that pure unmixed goodness in the highest perfection, could only reside in the Supreme Being, who alone is sovereignly and completely so, and therefore ascribes the glory of this attribute to him only, in its full extent. This strongly indicates to us, that Jesus is not to be considered as God, or equal with that God, who is good unto all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works, For in that case, why should he refuse a title that justly belonged to him in the highest sense ?
Some Trinitarians have endeavoured to give a strange turn to these words of Christ; as if he intended by them to ask the person who addressed him, “Seeing you do not take me for God as I really am, and possessing goodness in the highest degree; why do ye call me good master at all ?" But there is nothing in the context to warrant such a conjecture. For our Lord declares, that there is none good but (els as it is in the Greek,) one person, that is God; which one person can be no other than the Father, who alone is the one God of Christians. But if Christ is God, it would not be true that one person alone is supremely good ; since two or more persons would have an equal claim to this attribute. Many attempts have been made by our opponents, by forced and unnatural criticisms, to explain away the obvious meaning of our Lord's words in this passage ; as if they might be rendered from the original thus : " There is none good but God only, or there is none good at My EIS O JEOS but the one God.' But although this translation would do no hurt to our cause, and could not serve that of our opponents in the least,
(for the one God is the Father, as we have fully proved); yet it is necessary to observe, that it is not agreeable to the genius of the Greek language to transpose the words as they are above; and to place the article between the ad. jective and the substantive in order to express the words, the one God : and so this translation cannot be admitted. Upon the whole it is abundantly clear, that this glorious attribute of boundless and unlimited goodness, does not belong to our Lord Jesus Christ; and that therefore he must be essentially different from that most high God, in whose nature it resides and who in consequence of it imparts joy and happiness to the whole creation.
In the 18th place, Jesus Christ is not the most high God; or the supreme, omnipotent Being, because he declares in express and positive terms, that there is one greater than himself.' John xiv. 28. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. loved me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father : for my Father is greater than I.'
Now we are perfectly sure that none can be greater than God : who is the most glorious and perfect of all beings, and can have no equal, far less a superior. The very heathens styled their supreme Jupiter, Deus optimus maximus, God the best and the greatest of beings ; and describe the Deity as one, quo nec melius, nec majus concipi potest, than whom it is impossible to conceive a greater, or a better. But our Lord Jesus Christ has given up all pretensions to the character of supreme and absolute greatness. He informed his disciples, that the Father was greater than himself ; and that, if they truly loved him, it would be matter of joy to them to hear of his going to the Father ; in order to receive greater degrees of happiness, than what he possessed while he remained in their company on earth. This single declaration of our Lord's, is sufficient alone to esta. blish the Unitarian doctrine on a solid foundation ; and taken in connection with our other numerous proofs and arguments ; it is irresistibly strong and convincing. It is a poor evasion to say, that Jesus Christ speaks here according to his human nature; but that he was notwithstanding equal to the Father in his divine nature.
We have before shewn, that there is no evidence for the existence of these two supposed natures in Christ; and, there
fore, there is no room for a subterfuge of this kind. But even supposing for a moment, that two such natures had existed : yet as they are said to form one person in Christ, the pronoun I includes them both; and proves that Christ was inferior in both natures to the Father. For it is in: tolerable prevarication in our adversaries to affirm, that Christ speaks sometimes according to his supposed divine, sometimes according to his human, nature; and at other times according to both natures. This is turning the sa. cred scriptures into a riddle, shifting and changing the person of Christ in order to serve a turn; and by the use of similar distinctions, all human language may be rendered precarious and uncertain ; and no certain criterion will be left for distinguishing truth from error.
In the nineteenth place, Jesus Christ is not the most high God; the only wise and omniscient Deity ; but a being inferior to him, and dependent upon him, because, he declares in the most solemn manner, that he was ignorant of the precise time of the day of judgment. Matt. xxiv. 36. • But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no; not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.' Mark xiii. 32. But of that day and that hour knowerh no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” That God knows the day of judgment we are absolutely certain, because, the apostle Paul informs us, Acts xvii. 31. that' he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained;' and in Acts xv. 18. we are told that, known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." In Isaiah xli. 21, 22, 23, the true God is eminently distinguished from the false ones by his knowledge of future events. Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons saith the king of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen : let them shew the former things what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
Shew us things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that
are gods; yea, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.' Now it is a certain fact, that our Lord Jesus Christ was,
earth ignorant of the day of judgment; and therefore he cannot
be that God, to whom all futurity is open : and who knowo every thing that is possible to be known. It is hardly possible to conceive words more strongly and clearly ex. pressed; and better guarded against all exception, than what our Lord makes use of in Mark. But of that day, and that hour knoweth (odels) none, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, * but the Father ;' and Matthew adds, ει μη ο πατηρ με μονος but my Father only,' which gives additional strength to the assertion of our Lord. Yet plain and express as these words are, many unavailing attempts have been made by Trinitarian writers to prove, that Jesus really knew the day of judgment, at the very time that he asserted the contrary to his disciples.
* Neither the Son.—Bp. Pearce observes upon this clause of the verse as follows, “ Ambrose in his treatise De Fide v. 7. says veteres non babent codices, quod nec filius scit; which is the same as to say, that the odo o vios were not found in ancient Greek manuscripts of his days, in those at least, which he had seen ; but at present they are found in all of them. For the reasons given in note on Matthew xxiv. 36. we ought not (I think) to suppose, that Jesus was ignorant of this par. ticular; and, therefore, I am inclinable to believe that these words were not originally inserted by Mark, &c.” † But although these words could be set aside, the expression, my Father only,' which St. Matthew records, would alone prove that Christ was ignorant of the day of judgment.-At the same sime it deserves to be remarked, that the single authority of Ambrose is no sufficient reason, for setting aside these words in St. Mark. Ambrose might be mistaken, and there is good reason to think that he was so; because all the Greek manuscripts that have come down to the present times and have been collated, acknowledge this passage, as may be seen in Mill, Kuster, and Westein; and besides it is quoted by Irenæus, who lived long before Ambrose ; and by Athanasius, Epiphanius, and other ancient writers. Bp. Pearce's attempts to explain this passage agreeably to the common and received system of orthodoxy, is only doing
unnatural violence to the plain meaning of our Lord's words. Jesas might know the circumstances preceding and attending the day of judgment, without knowing the precise day and hour when that event should happen. And though all things are said to be delivered to Christ of the Father; yet these general expressions admit of exceptions; for Christians are said to have - an unction from the holy one, and to know all things;' and the knowledge of the day of judgment is particularly excepted by our Lord himself. The parable where our Lord is represented, as coming in an hour when the servant looketh not for him, and is not aware of, is not to the purposc. Our Lord might know that he should come unexpectedly upon many, although he did not know the precise time of his coming
+ Bp. Pearce in loco.