« AnteriorContinuar »
“ in conversation and in books;”-that, notwithstanding all this, he would have done the same again had it suited his purpose. As for Origen, we have seen also how strongly he affirms the equality of the Son with the Father.* Either, then, the inferiority implied in the words quoted from his writings by Mr. Yates, must be of an official kind, (a circumstance to be determined by their connexion, which I have not the opportunity to consult) or else he flatly contradicts himself: and if so, I do not well comprehend the “ honesty” of the good old father; and, not comprehending his honesty, I can have little dependance on his “ learning," however great it may have been. †
7thly. On Col. i. 16. Mr. Yates says—-" In the longest, and, “ as it is commonly imagined, the clearest of these passages, “ (that from Colossians) sufficient evidence is presented, to “ enable the merė English reader to determine, whether, in “ the creation of the material universe, Christ displayed “ underived glory. After stating the fact, that all things “ were created through him, the apostle assigns the cause “ of this fact, in the following terms: For it pleased the “ Father, that in him should all.fulness dwell. It appears, " that the reason, why Christ was employed in the work of “ creation, was, that such was the pleasure of the Father, " and that the Father bestowed upon him a full participation 6 of his power and glory." (Pages 87, 88.)
On this I have to observe, in the first place, That, in the words quoted as assigning the cause of “ all things having s been created through him,”--the words “ the Father," are supplementary.--Secondly, That, granting the propriety of the supplement, (for I think it is a fair and natural one) the verse does not (as a careless reader of Mr. Yates would suppose) immediately follow the one which ascribes to him the creation of all things. There intervenes the declaration of his being “ the head of his body the church, the beginning, "'the first-born from the dead, that in all things he might $ have the pre-eminence.”—And in this his mediatorial capacity, as the Head of authority and influence in his church, all fulness is represented as dwelling in him, by the pleasure of the Father, consistently with the whole representation of the scheme of redemption. And, lastly,—What does Mr. Yates mean when he says, that “the Father bestowed upon him a full participation of his power and glory?"-Does he mean to say, that the power of creating out of nothing was communicated to this subordinate agent, himself a creature? And by a.“ full participation" of this power does he mean that it was imparted fully-in all its extent ? I cannot, indeed, conceive, for my own part, that, if creative power was imparted at all, it could be imparted otherwise than in all its fulness. The power of creating an aton is the same with the power of creating the universe-and the power of creating the universe must be infinite power; otherwise, as creation must be limited, we never can have evidence of the creator's possessing such power. If creative power be capable of transference or communication to a creature, I can conceive of nothing else which may not; and must look on him who can believe in this fancy, as a believer in the possibility of the communication of all Divine perfections ; an idea which would startle even a Trinitarian, with all his insatiable appetite for mystery.
* See pages 206, 207. + Mr Yates speaks in very confident terms of Origen's honesty. I feel no satisfaction in seeing his credit, or that of any other man, at all shaken; nor does my argument in the smallest degree require it. The reader, however, may, if he please, consult on this subject Bishop Horsley's Controversial Tracts, Part II. chap, i. pages 391-400 and Disquisition V. pages 534-548.
Priestley, “ be imparted to another, as well as that of creating 66 out of nothing ?”_" He must have lost his reason,” says Allix, “who imagines, that God can make a creature capa6 ble of creating the universe. Grant this, and by what “ character will you distinguish the creature from the Crea“ tor? By what right, then, could God appropriate, as he “ doth very often in the Old Testament, the work of the 6 world's creation to himself, excluding any other from hav“ ing to do in it but himself? Why should God, upon this “ score, forbid the giving worship to the creature, which is « due to the Creator? The Arians, who worship Jesus Christ, “ though they esteem him a creature, and the Papists 66 who swallow whole the doctrine of transubstantiation;
teach in their schools that a creature may be en“ abled by God to become a creator! But for us, who deny " that any thing but God is to be adored, we reject all such 66 vain conceits, of a creature being any way capable to re$6 ceive the infinite
power of a creator: With regard to THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD and the FINAL JUDGMENT, Mr. Yates begins his observations by complaining, that I should have represented Unitarians, without distinction, as - doubting or denying that Jesus Christ is « appointed to execute these offices at all.”—Although it is not exactly true, that I have quoted from Mr. Belsham only, as Mr. Yates alleges,-for, in a note, expressions to the same purpose with those of Mr. Belsham are quoted from Mr. Lindsay; yet I freely admit, that my language ought to have been qualified. This, I presume, is one of those « lesser differences, which are to be settled among Unitari“ ans by their own amicable discussions."
Considering Mr. Yates, then, as granting that the domi
* Judgment of the Jewish Church, &c. pages 193, 194,
nion of the world and the final judgment are, according to the Scriptures, assigned to Jesus Christ, let us see how he treats the argument thence derived for his “ omniscience, 6 omnipotence, and independence."
“ In a former part of this treatise,” says he, “ I have stat“ed and defended the Unitarian doctrine concerning the “ judgment of mankind through Jesus Christ, which is, that “he is empowered and ordained to execute these exalted “ offices by the one true God. He himself asserted, that 666 the Father gave him authority to execute judgment,' and
various explicit declarations of Scripture agree with the 6 doctrine of Paul, that he is ordained by God to be the judge “ of quick and dead.' These clear assertions we believe; they
are not the deductions of human reason; they are authorita66. tively taught to mankind in the Scriptures of truth; Mr. 66 Wardlaw does not call them in question.” (Pages 218, 219.)
No, indeed. So far from calling them in question, I have said, in the passage referred to, that “those who “ maintain this view of his person and character (i. e. 6 who consider him as a “ Divine Mediator') acknowledge « such delegation, as an essential article of their scheme. « Believing him to be represented in the Scriptures as u voluntarily assuming the form, and acting in the capa6 city, of a servant, they are not startled at finding this " representation consistently supported throughout."-And it is curious to observe, how cautiously Mr. Yates avoids grappling with this great general principle of the double view of the person and character of Christ, held by Trinitarians, as the principle, and the only satisfactory principle, of harmony, between seemingly discordant passages.
I had argued besides, that “ delegation cannot confer any “ ability for the discharge of the functions of the office
“ delegated;" that “it may bestow title and right; but « it can communicate no capacity, no actual qualification :"> that “it is vain, therefore, to talk of delegation ; for, if 66 Jesus Christ be indeed LORD OF ALL, and JUDGE OF “ ALL, the only question is, what are the qualifications “ essential to the Being who governs, and who is to judge “ the world ? and to this question I answer, without fear 5 of contradiction by any reasonable and unprejudiced mind, " OMNISCIENCE, OMNIPOTENCE, and INDEPENDENCE:”-that, “ if such qualities must be possessed by the Governor « and Judge of the world, they must, from their nature, 6 be original, and inherent, being entirely unsusceptible of of transference or communication.” (Discourse IV. pages 117, 118.)
On this argument Mr. Yates expresses himself in the following terms :-“This argument relates to a subject the o most sublime and awful, and far removed from our know6 ledge and experience. I fear, therefore, to maintain “ my side of the question in the same dogmatical terms, « in which Mr. Wardlaw maintains his. But with a con“ viction, that the Scriptures alone can afford us informa66 tion on this subject, and with great reluctance to argue 66 the point at all on the grounds of mere human reason, “I shall venture to say, that the qualifications of omni« science, omnipotence, and independence, do not appear a to me essential to the office of the delegated Governor o and Judge of mankind. I do not see any reason why 6 the power of such a personage should extend beyond 6 the world over which he presides, or why his knowledge 6 should comprehend the actions, characters, and deserts, * not only of those who come before his tribunal, but of all ^ intelligent beings who have existed in other regions of