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and they quoted the text on purpose to prove that the Son is ecos; (which Paul of Samosata denied;) only afterwards they explain the words, over all, to mean over all creatures, to prevent mistakes. No thing can be more false in one sense, or more impertinent and silly in another, than what he says of their “ denying the supreme divinity of Christ, * “ that he is over all, God blessed, in this very Ep. “ stle.” For whoever looks into the Epistle will see that their whole argument depends upon their applying this passage to the Son, in proof of his being over all, (creatures,) God blessed: not over the Father, to be sure, (they were not so ridiculous, Deither are we,) but én távtwv yevntãy h. This they affirm and insist upon; and is this any thing like “ denying his supreme divinity ?” Dr. Mill quotes Origen too as having the word Ofòs in his comment upon the text; but his corrector blames him for putting upon us his interpreter Ruffinus in his stead. But does not Dr. Mill refer to another place of Origen besides that? and even this may be Origen's own, and probably is; notwithstanding the liberties which Ruffin sometimes took. These are his feeble attacks against the present reading of this passage, which is so glorious a proof of our Saviour's divinity, that it is no wonder he should level his little artillery against it, and pick up every cavil, though contemptible and frivolous to the last degree. What has he been contending for, and what have I been answering ? should all he has offered be true, a sufficient answer is contained in a single what then? He cannot produce so much as one manuscript that
h Labb. Concil. tom. i. 345.
wants the word Ocòs, yet he would gladly raise scruples in men's minds about the genuineness of it by such arguments as, if he be half the man he would pass for, he himself despises. I must own I have not words to express my detestation of such a wretched temper as he here discovers, and so must leave my readers to reflect on it in silence. Well, but admitting the present reading to be right, “ the “ words are of dubious construction.” Not at all : and to compliment him with an allusion to his own way of arguing, (p. 17,) had it been said that Christ was not God over all, blessed for ever, " the text “ with him would have been as clear as light.” The words cannot without the greatest violence be understood of God the Father, as learned men have often shewni, and I will not always be repeating. The titles contained in them, God over all, or the blessed God, are not peculiar to the Father in contradistinction to Christ. No such opposition was intended in any of the places where these titles are attributed to the Father. And it is strange that he cannot be pronounced blessed, but I know not what innuendo against the Son must presently be suspected in it. Tertullian, Cyprian, and Novatian were not the only ancients who applied the words to Christ. As far as appears, they all did so', heretics and catholics, without exception; Praxeans, Noetians, Sabellians urged it strongly; and yet the catholics thought not of denying the application to Christ, (however pressed with it,) but admitted that application. And whenever they denied the title, God over all, of Christ, it was when it was under
i See Dr. Waterland's Sermons, p. 221, &c.; Dr. Grabe's Instances of Defects, &c. against Whiston, p. 23, &c.
stood and offered in a Sabellian or heretical sense admitting it all the while in a sound and just one. Clemens Romanus, he says, intimates, “ that he did “ not understand the words, who is over, &c. to be “ spoken of Christ :” N. B. he intimates this by his silence, by quoting as much of the passage as wa to his purpose, and not mentioning the rest. But enough of his negative arguments. That Clemen nowhere in his Epistle so much as styles Christ barely God, is very probably false report !; however, the reason he gives for it is exceeding ridiculous. To whom, pray, do tà nabýuata avtoù refer, but to Ocũ in the same period ? and did God the Father suffer? But what if Clemens did not style Christ God? his Epistle was not designed to assert or prore his divinity, a point which was then hardly brought into dispute. And much larger treatises than this Epistle of Clemens, wrote both by ancients and moderns of unquestionable orthodoxy, may be found, where Christ is not so much as barely styled God. Clemens generally styles Christ ó Kúplos; by no means a low or diminishing title, since the Seventy so style Jehovah, the God of Israel. But supposing this report to be just, his reason is the merriest in the world. St. John had not then wrote his Gospel, and Clemens did not understand Rom. ix. 5. of Christ, and so not finding “ that Christ was called God in “ any part of scripture known to him, or then writ“ ten;" he did not know (we are left to suppose)
| See Answer to Whitby, p. 13, 22; Berriman's Historical Account, p. 41; Grabe's Annot. in Bulli F. N. D. p. 60.
m Quis tèy Kúpsov pro Domino Deo accipiendum putaret, nisi ita seniores locuti essent, quibus Kúpios est o äv? Pearson. Præf. Parän. ad LXX.
whether Christ was to be called God, or not. I desire the reader to turn to the place, (p. 97, 98,) or otherwise he will think I impose upon him, and misrepresent my author. What? a bishop of Rome, an apostolical writer, “who had conversed with and “ been taught by St. Paul,” (p. 98,) whose writings were once read in the Christian assemblies, so ignorant of this prime article of his religion, as not to know whether he should style Christ God, or not? Did not such men as Clemens understand the Christian faith before it was committed to writing? or were there not, before Clemens wrote his Epistle, some sacred writings extant in which Christ is styled God? Our author here dreams as usual: and I shall not interrupt his repose, by debating with him the antiquity of the Apostolic Constitutions, or the genuineness of the larger Epistles ascribed to Ignatius. It is sufficient to say, that the best and ablest judges are against him. But it is a good presumptive argument in favour of our doctrine, that the opposers of it are forced to attempt a reform in the rècords that contain it; and can make no alteration in the one, without first changing the state of the other. Scriptures and Fathers must be brought to their tribunal, some retained and some rejected, contrary to the sentiments of all mankind besides ; genuine shall be spurious, and spurious shall be genuine; and after all this learned legerdemain and hocus pocus, this trafficking and shuffling with texts and testimonies, they may perhaps be able (and then scarce able) to prove their point. The world sees now pretty clearly what they want, and they may as
See Second Defence, p. 280, 281; Farther Defence, p. 92.
well say plainly, once for all, Give us a new Bilk and new Fathers, and we will dispute the matte with you. He cites some Fathers here as denying the Son to be the God over all; and in what sek they did so Eusebius would have taught him, had he but attended to his own quotations. It was what Sabellius dared to affirm, and for which he wa esteemed by the church of God to be an atheist and blasphemer, that they intended to deny, viz. that Christ is the Father himself, or that Father and Son are the same Person. But Dr. Waterland has suffciently answered for his Fathers, Origeno, Irenæus?, Eusebius 9, Cyprian"; and in such good hands I leave them, for our author to reply to at his leisure.
He proceeds now (p. 103.) to another set of texts, which, he says, “ teach a doctrine directly opposite “ to his (Dr. Waterland's) hypothesis.” But if the former texts teach Dr. Waterland's doctrine, (and it has been often proved that they do,) no other texts of scripture can teach a doctrine “ directly opposite to it. However, let us hear him : he begins with Matth. xix. 17. Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. But one Person, or else it won't serve our author's purpose. But the text says nothing of Person, since it might as well be rendered, there is none good but God alones; not at all determining whether that God subsist in one Person or more. If there be two or more Per
• Answer to Whitby, p. 23, 24. P Second Defence, p. 65, 87,88; Mr. Alexander's Essay, p. 117. 9 Second Defence, p. 28, 152, 186, 187.
* See Sermons, p. 141, 311; Second Defence, p. 143, 404; Importance, p. 345; Third Defence, p. 117
s Scripture Doctrine Vindicated, by Mr. Nelson's Friend, p. 2.