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of our modes of reasoning. We answer, the greatest of all consequences turn on these points. For if that which is spiritual and rational, and incorporeal is indivisible in its nature, then surely Jesus Christ possessed the fullness of the Godhead, naturally and inherently in himself—this is a natural consequence, if he is the proper Son of God in any sense.
Mr. Millard observes in bis 78th page- " the whole dispute may now be reduced to this single question, is Jesus Christ, properly the Son of God, and as such, a being- distinct from his Father." We answer, we think Mr. Millard under a great mistake, for we think his question is not a single one, but contains at least three distinct ideas.
To that paft, whether Jesus Christ is properly the Son of God, we answer in the aifirmative, that we firmly believe he is. How far he is a distinct being from the Father, and how far they are united, and what this union is, is quite another question. And not only so, but whether the Son of God, which you acknowledge to be of the sub stance of the Father, can be changed into flesh, in the womb of the virgin, and die, is another question. We agree with you, therefore, in the first particular, but dissent from the last particulars, for the reasons already assigned.
■I CHAPTEfi II.
Examination of the Trim, arian doctrine of incarnation continued.
We will now take leave of Mf. Millard for a short time, and turn our attention to Doct . Adam Clarke's doctrine j Doct. Clarke is professedly a Trinitarian, and has written a large and able commentary on the whole Bible. Mr. Millard is ad Unitarian. But when we compare their com.* ments together ■ a '• doctrine of the proper Sonship of Jesus Christ, they perfectly agree.— We have thought it proper, therefore, here, to transcribe, two of the Doctor's notes at full length^ as our object is truth. This seems to be necessary, that by comparison, we may be able to see in what particular points they agree; and whether it is a point which the scriptures support . If not, we know of no names among men, which can consecrate errors, and gain for them belief.
The Doctor's notes follow, viz: Matthew, chapter 1, verse 20—" That which is conceived (or formed) in her"—" Sol think the (Hebrew word) should be translated in this place: as it appears that the human nature of Jesus Christ, was a real creation in the womb of the Virgin, by the Power of the Holy Spirit . The angel of the Lord mentioned here, was probably the angel Gabriel, who six months before, had been to Zacharias, and Elizabeth, to announce the birth of Christ's forenfotwr, John the Baptist."
Luke, chapter 1, verse 35—" The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee."
"This conception shall take place stiddenly, and the Holy Spirit himself shall be the grand operator. The power, the miracle working power, of the Most High shall overshadow thee, to accomplish this purpose, and to protect thee from danger. As there is a plain allusion to the Spirit of God brooding over the face of the waters to render them prolific, Gen. 1,2. I am the more firmly established in the opinion advanced, on Matthew, 1, 20, that the rudiments of the human nature o£ ■Christ was a real creation in the womb of the Virgin by the energy of the spirit of God. ..(t Therefore also that he 4jJiifw,r (or person) shall be called the Son of God.
"We may plainly perceive here, that the angel jdoes not give the appellation of Son of God, to the divine nature of Christ; but to that holy person or thing which was to be born of the Virgin, by the energy of the Holy Spirit. The divine nature could not be born of the Virgin; the hujnan nature was born of her. The divine nature had no beginning; it was God manifested in the flesh. 1st Timothy, 3, 16—It was that Word, which being in the beginning (from eternity) with God, John, 1, 2, was afterwards made flesh, (became manifest in human nature) and tabernacled among us, John, 1, 14. Of this divine nature the Angel does not particularly speak here, but of the tabernacle or shrine which God was now preparing for it, viz. the holy thing, that was to be born of the Virgin. Two natures must ever be ■distinguished in Christ: the human nature, in. reference to which fre is the Son of Gad, and inferior to flint; Mark *$•, 3&» John v, 19, *iv,
■•••■■ jf28, and the divine nature which was from eternity, and equal to God, John 1, 1, and 10, 30; Rom. 9, 5 ; Col. 1,16—IS. It is true, that to Jesus Christ, as he appeared among men, every characteristic of the divine nature is sometimes attributed, without appearing to make any distinction between the divine and human natures; but is there any part of the scriptures, in which it is plainly said that the divine nature of Jesus was the Son God? Here I trust I may be permitted to say, with all due respect for those who differ rom me, that the doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of Christ, is, in my opinion, anti-scriptural, and highly dangerous; this doctrine I reject for the following reasons:
"1st, I have not been able to find any express declaration in the scriptures concerning it.
"2dly, If Christ be the Son of God, as to his divine nature, then he cannot be eternal: for Son implies a Father ; and Father implies, in reference to Son, precedency in time, if not in nature too. Father and Son imply the idea of generation ; and generation implies a time in which it was effected, and time also antecedent to such generation.
"3dly, If Christ be the Son of God, as to his divine nature, then the Father is of necessity prior, consequently superior to him.
"4thly, Again, if this divine nature were begotten of the Father, then it must be in time, i. o. there was a period in which it did not exist, and a period when it began to exist. This destroys the eternity of our blessed Lord, and robs him at once of his God-head.
"5thly, To say that he was begotten from all eternity, is in my opinion, absurd ; and the phrase eternal Son, is a positive self-contradiction. Eternity is that which has had no beginning, nor stands in any reference to time. Son supposes time, generation, and Father; and time also antecedent to such generation. Therefore the conjunction of these two terms, Son and eternity, is absolutely impossible, as they imply essentially different and opposite ideas.
"The enemies of Christ's divinity have, in all ages, availed themselves of this incautious method of treating this subject, and on this ground have ever had the advantage of the defenders of the God-head of Christ. The doctrine of the eternal Sonship destroys the deity of Christ; now if his deity be taken away, the whole gospel scheme of redemption is ruined. On this ground, the atonement of Christ cannot have been of infinite merit, and consequently could not purchase pardon for the offences of mankind, nor give any right to, or possession of, an eternal glory. The very use of this phrase is both absurd and dangerous; therefore let all those who value Jesus and their salvation, abide by the scriptures."
Here ends Doct. Clarke's notes; we have been more copious in our extracts from him, because under professions of Trinitarianism, they assume additional reasons why they should be examined, and because from him they are more dangerous, if erroneous. We propose to make some general and then particular remarks upon his notions.
With the Doctor, we say, "abide by the scriptures." He says, "if the deity be taken away, the whole gospel scheme is ruined," in this also we unite. He says, "there must be infinite merit" in the Saviour, this we believe. And yet, with all respect to the character of Doct. Clarke, we differ from him in most of the essential points,