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their supposed Trinity is a real person, or agent, dis
consistent Trinitarian can deny, that the second person of
tinct from the Father and the Holy Ghost. Nor can it be fairly denied, that a'man consisting of a body and a soul, or intelligent thinking principle, is also a real person or agent. From this state of the case, which is a clear and just one, it certainly follows, that our Lord Jesus Christ is two persons, which is the very opinion of Nestorius, condemned by the Trinitarians themselves, but unjustly ; for it is the natural consequence of their principles. Nor can they escape this difficulty, unless they will affirm with Eutyches, that the human nature was absorbed or swal. lowed up in the divine, so as to be no longer distinguish. able. But the Trinitarians have also condemned this opi. nion as heretical, and tell us expressly, that our Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person for ever. They must, therefore, have recourse in this, as well as in other perplexing difficulties, to their everlasting friend mysTeRY ; and covered with this impenetrable shield, they imagine themselves secure from every attack. But by maintaining this absurd opi. pion which they are unable to defend, they confound all the natures and distinctions of things, and introduce a total confusion into our ideas and in pursuing this argument,' we can reduce them to the necessity of affirming, that the human soul and body of our Lord Jesus Christ did not constitute a person in him, although it does so in every individual man and woman, that is born into the world besides. But to return to the creed we have quoted. The author proceeds to affirm speaking of Christ: “Who although he be God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; One, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh, but by taking of manhood into God; One alto. gether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.”
The author here attempts to account for the supposed union of the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ, by comparing it to the union of the soul and body. But this is not a just and fair comparison. For the union of a soul with a body, (according to the common theory of human nature) is only an union betwixt two finite things;
(very different and opposite indeed, but still finite), which may be supposed to take place by the power of God, and to be preserved and continued by his perpetual agency. But a personal union betwixt God and man, is an union or conjunction betwixt what is finite and infinite; which fannot be admitted. It is supposing either, that the im. mense, the eternal, the transcendent Deity is made com. mensurate to a human soul, or that a human soul is elevated to the height of Deity. It is supposing he that filleth heaven and earth with his presence, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain,' and “in whom we all live, move and have our being,' to have been incarnate or cased in a human body. For if the Trinitarians deny this absurd and impossible supposition, it is in vain to talk of an iocarnation, or a personal union, and their cause is utterly lost. If they admit it, the following monstrous conse. quences will follow ; that a supreme infinite person or agent, for a time (if not for ever) ceased to be so : that, laying aside his divine attributes and heavenly glories, he conveyed himself into a virgin's womb, and was born or brought forth as other infants are : that Mary was the mother of God : that the Supreme Being was once a weak, tender, and helpless child, suckled at the breast, dandled on the knees, nourished, fed and brought up by the care, and carried about in the arms of a woman ; that the Supreme Being increased in wisdom and stature; and in favour with God and man;' that he applied himself to a car. penter's trade, under the direction of his supposed Father, until he was thirty years of age ; that then he was anointed with the spirit without measure, entered upon his ministry, and performed many miracles, and delivered many doc trines to mankind ; that he met with much trouble, afflic. tion, and opposition in the world, and at last ended his days on the cross ; that the God of nature died, and was buried, and was raised again from the dead, and highly rewarded and exalted in heaven by another God or divine person equal to himself. What shocking ideas are these ! Does not every considerate person feel his mind recoil at the perusal of thein ? Yet there is nothing forced or exaggerated in this picture. It is the natural consequences of a real and proper incarnation of the Deity. And if the Trinitariáns deny this to be a just representation of their
opinion, and pretend that notwithstanding the personal union, their second divine person still retained the proper attributes of Deity ; and that God is said to be man, and man to be God only by a communication of idioms; that is figuratively and improperly, then, the whole business of the incarnation will vanish into a figure of speech; and Jesus Christ will not be God upon their scheme, any more than he is so upon the Unitarian. He will only be a creature, guide, directed, influenced, and inspired, by God the Son, in the same manner as the Unitarians suppose him to be by God the Father. : And thus the Tri. nitarians will be found to have broken the first command. ment, and to have made more gods than one, without even gaining their favourite point of making Jesus Christ to be God.
But again, the Athanasian comparison of the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ to that of the soul and body in man, will be found to be defective in another respect. For, as an Unitarian writer justly observes, “The union of the soul and body may be properly personal, that is, may constitute or make one person ; because, it is not the union of two persons, but only of one person (the soul) to a thing otherwise without life, reason, memory, or free will. The body is but, as it were, the garment of the soul, and is wholly acted by it, and depending on it. But, in the pretended union of God and man, there are two distinct and very different lives, reasons, memories, and free wills : which utterly destroy a personal union ; for that supposes but one life, one reason, one memory, one free-wili : for if these things which constitute a person are found more than once, there is no longer one person, but two, and consequently no personal union in the sense of which we are speaking.”*. There is another absurdity,
* An eminent prelate, whose excellent moral sermons I admire but whose speculative principles I cannot adopt, has endeavoured to eluci; date the supposed existence of the two natures in Jesus Christ, by com
paring it to the union of the body and soul, in like manner as the Athanasian creed does. But the considerations and arguments suggested above, are sufficient to refute what he has advanced. How unworthy is it of so great a man, to betake himself to the stale device of mystery on the subject of the incarnation ; a refuge which he will not
which it may be proper here to take notice of, that attends the belief of God the Son, the second person of the Tri. nity, being incarnate (according to the systems of our opponents), and that is derived from their very notion of the Trinity itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are (say they) three persons, all existing together in one indi. vidual or numerical essence, which is incapable of divi. sion or separation. And yet, notwithstanding, they affirm with amazing inconsistency, that one of these persons, viz. the second, was incarnate, while the first and third were not. Now nothing can be plainer or more certain, than that if the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, have the same numerical essence, that either all the three must have been incarnate, or none of them possibly could be
This is an argument that lies open to every one's capacity, who will but open his eyes and acknowledge the force of truth and not suffer himself to be deluded, and estranged from the simplicity of the faith, by giving a blind and implicit assent to chimerical schemes of religion. The force of this argument was so great, as to drive one Trinitarian to the necessity of affirming, that the whole Tri. nity was incarnate in Jesus Christ ; and has obliged others, who were inclined to adopt the modal or Sabellian system, to be inconsistent with themselves, and to turn Tritheists in speaking of the incarnation.
In regard to scripture evidence for the existence of two natures in Jesus Christ the Trinitarians can produce no. thing that is at all to the purpose. Our Lord speaks of himself, and the scriptures uniformly describe him, as one single mind or agent, acting in perfect obedience to the commands of his heavenly Father, and delighting to do his will. He is described as one who possessed the Father's fulness, or the communication of the spirit without mea. sure; which qualifications render the supposition of a distinct and separate divine nature quite unnecessary; and in my opinion fully prove that no such divine nature did or could exist in him. Whereas if our Lord had had a divine nature of his own, 'separate from that of the
allow to the Roman Catholics ; but which they have an equal right to claim, on the subject of transubstantiation. See Archbishop Tillotson's Sermons on the Trinity and Incarnation.
Father, the thing no doubt would have been asserted with the greatest clearness in scripture, and made so palpably evident, that it could not have been misunderstood. The Trinitarians sometimes quote texts such as these, in support of their scheme. Acts ii. 30,
Acts ii. 30, Therefore being a pro. phet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ, to sit on his throne, &c.' Rom. ix. 5. 6 Whose are the fathers, and of whom con. cerning the flesh Christ came.' Rom. i. 3. 5. · Made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power : according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Our oppo. nents understand by the phrase according to the flesh, ac. cording to human nature, and would infer from it that Jesus Christ had another and a divine nature. But this inference will appear to be ill grounded, if we consider those passages of scripture wherein the same phrase is used and applied to persons, whom we are very sure possessed no more than one nature. In Rom. iv. 1. we read of
Abraham our Father as pertaining to the flesh.' Rom. ix. 3. Paul speaking of the Jews says, they were his kinsmen according to the flesh ;' and in 1 Cor. x. 18. we are told of Israel after the flesh.' The Greek words xato oapua occur in all these quotations, and are sometimes rendered according to, and at other times after or pertaining to the flesh ; and the true meaning of the expression is not, ać. cording to human nature, but according to carnal descent. The Jews were St. Paul's kinsmen according to carnal descent, but they were not his spiritual religious kinsmen. In like manner, Jesus Christ was of the Jews, and de. scended from David in regard to the flesh he took of the virgin ; but with respect to his origination by the power of God, and his consecration to the Messiahship by the effusion of the spirit, he is to be considered as the Son of God, and of a heavenly extraction and original ; and was more fully constituted in this office, and acquired a new title to it by his resurrection from the dead. This passage of the apostle John i. 14. •The word was made flesh and dwelt among us,' is also sometimes used as an argument, to prove the existence of two natures in Christ. But the apostle's words convey no such idea. For if the Logos or