« AnteriorContinuar »
in use, if it be not in the New Testament. And whether it is there, or not, may be known by those, who are pleased to read it with care; as all may, in Protestant countries, where the Bible lies open to be seen and read by all men.
I would therefore, after many others, recommend the diligent study of the scriptures, and the making use of all proper means for gaining the true sense of them. If we had the knowledge of the christian religion, as contained in the scriptures, the advantages would be great and manifold. Jesus would be unspeakably amiable ; and the gospel would appear to be a pearl of great price: christians would be no longer wavering and unsettled, but would be firmly established in a faith, that is throughout reasonable and excellent, and well attested to be of divine original. As our Lord says to the woman of Samaria, John iv. 14, “ Whosoever drinketh of the water that
shall give him, shall never thirst.” He will be fully satisfied. He will desire no other instruction concerning the right way of worshipping and serving God, or obtaining true happiness. “ But the water that I shall give bim, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.”
If we would sincerely study, heartily embrace, and openly profess the christian doctrine in its purity, and would diligently recommend it to others, upon the ground of that evidence, with which God hath clothed it, we should gain upon
deists and infidels of all sorts. For a religion, reasonable and excellent in all its principles, promulged by a teacher of an unspotted character, with a commission from heaven, confirmed by many mighty works, which could be performed by God only, has an evidence, which cannot be easily withstood and gainsayed. But no authority can recommend falsehood and absurdity to rational beings, who think and consider. Every one therefore, who loves the Lord Jesus in sincerity, must be willing to reform abuses and corruptions, which have been introduced into the cbristian profession, and are matter of offence to heathens and infidels.
When the religion professed by christians shall be in all things agreeable
to the scriptures, the only standard of religious truth; the advantages just mentioned, are very likely: as also divers others, which may be readily apprehended by every one. For then the papal power and tyranny, which for many ages has been a heavy weight upon Christendom, will sink, and fall to the ground : impositions upon
conscience, which undermine religion at the very foundaition, and prevail at present to a great degree in almost all
christian countries, will be abolished. The consequence of which will be, that true piety and virtue will be more general in all ranks and orders of men. The great diversity of opinions, and fierce contentions among christians, which are now so great an offence and scaudal to by-standers, will cease; christians will live in harmony, and will love one another as brethren. And the church of Christ will be the joy and the praise of the whole earth.
As an unbiassed and disinterested love and pursuit of truth are of great importance, and would mightily conduce to the good ends and purposes which are so desirable; I cannot but wish, that we did all of us less mind our own things, the things of our own worldly wealth and credit, our own church and party, and more the things of Jesus Christ, To whom be glory and dominion now and ever.. Amen,
CONTAINING REMARKS UPON THE THIRD PART OF THE
TORIES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.
LETT. iv. p. 59, or 425.b • But, my lord, supposing we • should allow, that there were more Gods than one con
• When I was preparing these remarks in March last, 1758, we received the tidings of the death of the Right Reverend Dr. Robert Clayton, Lord Bishop of Clogher, who departed this life the preceding month ; which gave me much concern upon divers accounts. In particular, I was in hopes, that these remarks, such as they are, might be perused by his lordship. I could wish likewise, that Mr. Whiston were still living. But they are both removed out of this world, as I likewise shall be in a short time. And certainly, it behoves us all to improve diligently the season of life whilst it lasts, and to serve God and man according to the ability which God has given us, and the station in which we have been placed, that we may give up an account of our stewardship with joy, and not with grief. Though those eminent and useful men are now no more in this world, their writings remain. It is with these I am concerned. If I have inadvertently misrepresented them, I presume, they have friends who are able to vindicate them. And, if my argument does not appear conclusive, I wish that they, or some others, may show wherein it fails. Jan. 25, 1759.
• The author, in composing these remarks upon the third part of the bishop's Vindication, made use of that edition which was printed at London in 1758.
* cerned in the creation of the world, as manifestly appears
that there were, from Gen, i. 26, and ch, iii. 22, where it is 6 said ; “ Let us make man in our image.” And, “ behold, • the man is become as one of us.
Is then creative power a property communicable to many or several ? St. Paul speaks of one Creator only, Rom. i. 25, and blames the heathens, “ who worshipped, and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen.” What then would be the consequences, if christians should come to believe, that there are more creators than one ?
It is bard, that we should be put to prove, what is so very evident, as that there is one God creator. However, I shall here prove it from the Old and New Testament.
Ex. xx. 1, “ And God spake all these words, saying: Ver. 3, Thou shalt have no other God's before me.” Ver. 10, 11, “ But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God-For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all that in them is." Ps. cxxxvi, “ O, give thanks to the Lord, to him, who alone doth great wonders, to him that by wisdom made the heavens, to him that stretched out the earth above the waters; to him that made great lights, the sun to rule by day, the moon and stars to rule by night,” &c.
Ísa. xlii. 5, “ Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it: he ibat giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.”
Isa. xl. 28, “ Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, nor is weary?”
Ch. xliv. 24, “ Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb; I am the Lord, that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” See also ch. xlv. 11, 12; ch. li. 12, 13; Jer. x. 12; ch. li, 15, and elsewhere.
Let us now consider the words of Gen. i. 26, “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,
Some christians have said that here is a proof of a trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead. The learned But another edition of the whole Vindication, with all the three parts, having been published here on the twenty-third day of this instant January, 1759, just as thes heets were going to the press, he has taken care to add the pages of this new edition to those of the former.
writer, now before us, argues hence for several creators, one supreme, another or several subordinate. But it is easy to answer, that the Jewish people never understood these expressions after that manner; for they always believed one God and Creator, and that God to be one person. And many learned interpreters among christians have said, that the style, common with princes, and other great men, who often speak in the plural number, is here ascribed to God. Nor needs the consultation, bere represented, be supposed to be between equals. But God may be rather understood to declare his mind to the angels, as his counsellors.
But indeed we need not suppose any discourse, or consultation at all. The meaning is no more than this. other things being made, God proceeded to the creation of man; or, he now proposed, at the conclusion, to make 'man.' And it may be reckoned probable, that Moses introduces God, in this peculiar manner, deliberating and consulting upon the creation of man, to intimate thereby, that he is the chief of the works of God. Or, in other words, according to Patrick, ' God not only reserved man • for the last of his works, but does, as it were, advise, and
consult, and deliberate about his production : the better ' to represent the dignity of man, and that he was made • with admirable wisdom and prudence.'
be confirmed in the reasonableness of this way of thinking, by observing the style made use of in speaking of all the other parts of the creation, which is to this effect. “ God said, Let there be light, and there was light. God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters
—And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind."
There is another like instance, ch. ii. 18, " And the Lord God, [Jehovah, Elohim,] said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will
make him an help meet for him.” The design of the other expressions, as before observed, was to intimate the great dignity and superior excellence of man above the other creatures, whose formation has been already related. In like manner, when God proceeds to the making of the woman, he is represented as consulting, and resolving what to do; that the man might be the more sensible of the goodness of the Creator in providing for him so suitable a help.
Moreover, though in Gex 1. 26, the words are: “ And € • Faciamus.'] Mos est Hebræis de Deo, ut de Rege, loqui. Reges res magnas agunt de consilio primorum. 1 Reg. xii. 6, 2 Paral. x. 9. Sic et Deus 1 Reg. xxii. 20. Grot. ad Gen. i. 26.
God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:" the execution of that purpose, as related in ver. 27, is in these words: “ So God created man in his own image : in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” And when the formation of man is mentioned in other places of scripture, no intimation is given that more than one had a hand in his creation. See particularly Matt. xix. 3–6, Mark x. 2–9, where our blessed Lord himself says: “ From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." And “ what God has joined together, let no man put asunder." For certain therefore man, as well as the other creatures, was made by God himself.
If more than one being had been concerned in the creation of man, or any other parts of the world, we ought to have been acquainted with it, that due respect might be paid to them by us. As scripture is bere silent, no man has a right to ascribe that to another which the scripture ascribes to God alone. And wherein, as in Ps. cxlviij. all beings, of every rank, in heaven and on earth, are required to praise God for the wonders of their formation. “ Praise ye the Lord : praise him from the heavens; praise him all ye bis angels; praise ye him all his hosts; praise ye him sun and moon; praise him all ye stars of light-Let them praise the name of the Lord. For he commanded, and they were created — Kings of the earth, and all people: princes, and all judges of the earth — Let them praise the name of the Lord; for his name alone is excellent; and his glory is above the earth and heaven."
Eccl. xii. 1, “ Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." In the Hebrew the word is plural, Creators. Nevertheless, not only our own, but all other versions translate, and rightly, Creator. Και μνησθητι τα κτισαντος σα εν ημεραις νεοτητος σε.
Gr. Memento Creatoris tui in diebus juventutis tuæ. Lat.
Isa. liv. 5, “ For thy Maker is thy husband." In the Hebrew, literally, “ for thy Makers are thy husbands." Nevertheless the words are always understood as singular. And what follows, shows that one person is only intended : 6 the Lord of hosts is his name.
Calvin's remark upon Gen. iii. 22, is to this purpose : • Whereas,' says he, many christians from this place draw • the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Deity; I fear • their argument is not solid.' ' Quod autem eliciunt ex hoc luco christiani doctrinam de tribus in Deo personis, vereor ne satis firmum sit argumentum.