Theological Institutes

Part Second - Doctrines of the Holy Scriptures

By Richard Watson

Chapter 16


IN the present day, the controversy as to the person of Christ is almost wholly confined to the question of his Divinity; but, in the early ages of the Church, it was necessary to establish his proper humanity. The denial of this appears to have existed as early as tire time of St. John, who, in his epistles, excludes from the pale of the Church all who denied that Christ was come in THE FLESH. As his Gospel, therefore, proclaims the Godhead, so his epistles defend also the doctrine of his humanity.

The source of this ancient error appears to have been a philosophical uric. Both in the oriental and Greek schools, it was a favourite notion, that whatever was joined to matter was necessarily contaminated by it, amid that tire highest perfection of this life was abstraction from material things, and, in another, a total arid final separation from the body. This opinion was, also, the probable cause of leading some persons, in St. Paul's time, to deny the reality of a resurrection, and to explain it figuratively. But, however that may be, it was one of the chief grounds the rejection of the proper humanity of Christ among the different branches of the Gnostics, who, indeed, erred as to both natures. The things which the Scriptures attribute to the human nature of our Lord hey (lid not deny; but affirmed that they took place in appearance only, and they were, therefore, called Doctae and Phantasiastae. At a later period, Eutyches fell into a similar error, by teaching that the human nature of Christ was absorbed into the Divine, arid that his body had no real existence. These errors have passed away, and dange now lies only on one side; not, indeed, because men are become less liable or less disposed to err, but because philosophy,-from vain pretences to which, or a proud reliance upon it, almost all great religious errors spring,-has, in later ages, taken a different character.

While these errors denied the real existence of the body of Christ, the Apolloninarian heresy rejected the existence of a human soul in our Lord, and taught that the Godhead supplied its place. Thus both these views denied to Christ a proper humanity, and both were, accordingly, condemned by the general Church.

Among those who held the union of two natures in Christ, the Divine and human, which, in theological language is called the hypostatical, or personal union, several distinctions were also made which led to a diversity of opinion. The Nestorians acknowledged two persons in our Lord, mystically and more closely united than any human analogy can explain. The Monophysites contended for one person and one nature, the two being supposed to be, in some mysterious manner, confounded. The Monothelites acknowledged two natures and one will. Various other refinements were, at different times, propagated; but the true sense of Scripture appears to have been very accurately expressed by the council of Chalcedon, in the fifth century,-that in Christ there is one person; in the unity of person, two natures, the Divine and the human; and that there is no change, or mixture, or confusion of these two natures, but that each retains its own distinguishing properties. With this agrees the Athanasian Creed, whatever be its date,-" Per. feet God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul, and human flesh subsisting-Who although he be God arid man, yet he is not two; but one Christ: one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by taking the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person; for as the reasonable soul arid flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ." The Church of England, by adopting this creed, has adopted its doctrine on the hypostatical union, and has farther professed it in her second article. "The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin of her substance so that tire two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man."

Whatever objections may be raised against these views by the mere reason of man, unable to comprehend mysteries so high, but often bold enough to impugn them, they certainly exhibit the doctrine of the New Testament on these important subjects, though expressed in different terms. Nor are these formularies to be charged with originating such distinctions, and adding them to the simplicity of Scripture, as they often unjustly are by those who, either from lurking errors in their own minds, or from a vain affectation of being independent of human autho­rity, are most prone to question them. Such expositions of faith were rendered necessary by the dangerous speculations and human refine­ments to which we have above adverted; and were intended to be (what they may be easily proved from Scripture to be in reality) summaries of inspired doctrines; not new distinctions, but declarations of what had been before taught by the Holy Spirit on the subject of the hypostatical union of natures in Christ; and the accordance of these admirable summaries with the Scriptures themselves will be very obvious to all who yield to their plain and unperverted testimony. That Christ is very GOD, has been already proved from the Scriptures, at considerable length; that he was truly a man, no one will be found to doubt; that he is but one person, is sufficiently clear from this, that no distinction into two was ever made by himself, or by his apostles, and from ac­tions peculiar to Godhead being sometimes ascribed to him under his human appellations; and actions and sufferings peculiar to humanity being also predicated of him under Divine titles. That in him there is no confusion of the two natures, is evident from the absolute manner in which both his natures are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures. His Godhead was not deteriorated by uniting itself with a human body, for "he is the true God ;" his humanity was not, while on earth, exalted into properties which made it different in kind to the humanity of his creatures; for, "as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, lie also took part of the SAME." If the Divine nature in him had been imperfect, it would have lost its essential character, for it is essential to Deity to be perfect and complete; if any of the essential properties of human nature had been wanting, he would not have been man; if, as some of the preceding notions implied, Divine and human had been mixed and confounded in him, he would have been a com­pounded being, neither God nor man. Nothing was deficient in his humanity, nothing in his Divinity, and yet he is one Christ. This is clearly the doctrine of the Scripture, and it is admirably expressed in the creeds above quoted; and, on that account, they are entitled to great respect. They embody the sentiments of some of the greatest men that ever lived in the Church, in language weighed with the ut­most care and accuracy; and they are venerable records of the faith of distant ages.

These two circumstances, the completeness of each nature, and the union of both in one person, is the only key to the language of the New Testament, and so entirely explains and harmonizes the whole as to afford the strongest proof, next to its explicit verbal statements, of the doctrine that our Lord is at once truly God and truly man. On the other hand, the impracticability of giving a consistent explanation of the testimony of God "concerning his Son Jesus Christ" on all other hypotheses, entirely confutes them. In one of two ways only will it be found, by every one who makes the trial honestly, that ALL the pas­sages of holy writ respecting the person of Christ can be explained; either by referring them, according to the rule of the ancient fathers, to the Qeologia, by which the meant every thing that related to the Divinity of our Saviour; or to the Oiconomia, by which they meant his incarnation, and every thing that he did in the flesh to procure the sal­vation of mankind. This distinction is expressed in modem theological language, by considering some things which are spoken of Christ, as said of his Divine, others of his human nature; and he who takes this principle of interpretation along with him will seldom find any difficulty in apprehending the sense of the sacred writers, though the subjects themselves be often, to human minds, inscrutable.

Does any one ask, for instance, if Jesus Christ was truly GOD, how he could be born and die? how he could grow in wisdom and sta­ture? how he could be subject to law? be tempted? stand in need of prayer? how his soul could be "exceeding sorrowful even unto death ?" be "forsaken of his Father ?" purchase tire Church with "his own blood ?" have "a joy set before him 7" be exalted? have "all power in heaven and earth" given to him? &c. The answer is, that he was also MAN.

If, on the other hand, it be a matter of surprise, that a VISIBLE MAN should heal diseases at his will, and without referring to any higher authority, as he often did; still the winds and the waves; know the thoughts of men's hearts; foresee his own passion in all its circum­stances; authoritatively forgive sins; be exalted to absolute dominion over every creature in heaven and earth; be present wherever two or three are gathered in his name; be with his disciples to the end of the world; claim universal homage and the bowing of the knee of all crea­tures to his name; be associated with the Father in solemn ascriptions of glory and thanksgiving, and bear even the awful names of God, names of description and revelation, names which express Divine attri­butes :-what is the answer ?)' Can the Socinian scheme, which allows him to be a man only, produce a reply? Can it furnish a reasonable interpretation of texts of sacred writ which affirm all these things? Can it suggest any solution which does not imply that the sacred pen men were not only careless writers, but writers who, if they had studied to be misunderstood, could not more delusively have expressed themselves? The only hypothesis, explanatory of all these statements, is, that Christ is GOD as well as MAN, and by this the consisteney of the sacred writers is brought out, and a harmonizing strain of senti­ment is seen compacting the Scriptures into one agreeing and mutually adjusted revelation.

But the union of the two natures in Christ in one hypostasis, or person, is equally essential to the full exposition of the Scriptures, as the existence of two distinctively, the Divine and the human; and without it many passages lose all force, because they lose all meanings In what possible sense could it be said of THE WORD, that "he was made (or became) FLESH," if no such personal unity existed? The Socinians themselves seem to acknowledge the force of this, and therefore trans. late "and the Word was flesh," affirming falsely, as various critics have abundantly shown, that the most usual meaning of ginomai is to be. Without the hypostatical union, how could the argument of our Lord be supported, that the Messiah is both David's SON and David's LORD? It. this is asserted of two persons, then the argument is gone; if of one, then two natures, one which had authority as Lord, and the other capable of natural descent, were united in one person. Allowing that we have established it, that the appellative "Son of God" is time designation of a Divine relation, but for this personal union the visible Christ could not be, according to St. Peter's confession, "the Son of the living God." By this doctrine we also learn how it was that "the Church of GOD" was "purchased by his own blood." Even if we concede the genuine reading to be "the Lord," this concession yields nothing to the Socinians, unless the term Lord were a human title, which has been already disproved, and unless a mere man could be "LORD both of the dead and the living," could wield universal sovereignty, and be entitled to universal homage. If, then, the title "THE Lord" be an appellation of Christ's superior nature, in no other sense could it be said that the Church was purchased by His OWN blood, than by supposing the existence of that union which we call personal; a union which alone dis­tinguishes time sufferings of Christ from that of his martyred followers, gave to them a merit which theirs had not, and made "his blood" capable of PURCHASING the salvation of the "Church." For, disallow that union, and we can see no possible meaning in calling the blood of Christ "the blood of God," or, if it please better, "of the Lord;" or in what that great peculiarity consisted which made it capable of pur­chasing or redeeming.

Dr. Pye Smith, in his very able work on time person of Christ, has rather inconsiderately blamed the orthodox, for "the very serious offence of sometimes using language which applies to the Divine nature the circumstances and properties which could only attach to his humanity," as giving unhappy occasion to the objections and derisions of their opponents. As he gives no instances, he had his eye, probably, upon some extreme cases; but if he meant it as a remark of general application, it seems to have arisen from a very mistaken view, and assumes, that the objections of opponents lie rather against terms than against the doctrine of Christ's Divinity itself.

This is so far from being the case, that, if the orthodox were to attend to the caution given by this writer on this subject, they would not approach one step nearer to the conversion of those who are in this fundamental error, supporting it, as they do, by perversions so manifest, and by criticisms so shameless. I am no apologist, however, of real "errors and faults" in theological language; but the practice referred to, so far from being "a serious offence," has the authority of the writers of the New Testament. Argumentatively, the distinction between the Divine and human natures, according to the rule before given, must be maintained; but when speaking cursorily, and on the assumption of the unquestionable truth of the hypostatic union of the Divine and human natures,-a manner of speaking, which, it is hoped, all true Christians adopt, as arising from their settled convictions on this point,-those very terms, so common among the orthodox, and so objectionable to those who "deny the Lord that bought them," must be maintained in spite of "derision," or the language of the New Testa­ment must be dropped, or at least be made very select, if this danger­ous, and in the result, this betraying courtesy be adopted. For what does Dr. P. Smith gain, when cautioning the believer against the use of the phrase "the blood of GOD," by reminding him that there is reason to prefer the reading, "the Church of the Lord, which he hath purchased by his own blood ?" The orthodox contend, that the appellation "TILE LORD," when applied to our Saviour, is his title as GOD, and the heterodox know, also, that the "blood of the Lord" is a phrase with us entirely equivalent to "the blood of GOD." They know, too, that we neither believe that "GOD" nor "THE LORD" could die; but in using the established phrase, the all-important doctrine of the existence of such a union between the two natures of our Lord as to make the blood which he shed more than the blood of a mere man, more than the blood of his mere humanity itself, is maintained and exhibited; and while we allow that God could not die, yet that there is a most important sense in which the blood of Christ was "the blood of GOD."

We do not attempt to explain this mystery, but we find it on record; and, in point of fact, that careful appropriation of the properties of the two natures to each respectively, which Dr. Pye Smith recommends, is not very frequent in the New Testament, and for this obvious reason, that the question of our Lord's Divinity is more generally introduced as an indisputed principle, than argued upon. It is true, that the Apostle Paul lays it down, that our Lord was of the seed of David, "according to the FLESH," and "the Son of God, according to the SPIRIT OF Holiness." Herre is an instance of the distinction; but generally this is not observed by the apostles, because the equally fundamental doctrine was always present to them, that the SAME PERSON who was FLESH was also truly GOD. Hence they scruple not to say, that "the Lord of glory was crucified," that "the Prince of life was killed," and that HE who was "in the form of God," became "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

We return, from this digression, to notice a few other passages, the meaning of which can only be opened by the doctrine of the personal union of the Divine and human natures in Christ. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead BODILY," Col. ii, 9; not by a type and figure, but, as the word swmatikw~ signifies really and substantially, and for the full exposition, we must add, by personal union; for we have no other idea by which to explain an expression never used to signify the inhabitation of good men by God, and which is here applied to Christ in a way of eminence and peculiarity.[1]

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb. i, 3. To this passage, also, the hypostatical union is the only key. Of whom does the apostle speak, when he says, "when he had BY HIMSELF purged our sins," but of Him who is "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person?" HE, by HIMSELF, "purged our sins;" yet this was done by the shedding of his blood. In that higher nature, however, he could not suffer death; and nothing could make the sufferings of his humanity a purification of sins BY HIMSELF, but such a union as should constitute one person :- for, unless this be allowed, either the characters of Divinity in the preceding verses are characters of a merely human being; or else that higher nature was capable of suffering death; or, if not, the purification was not made by HIMSELF, which yet the text affirms.

In fine, all passages which (not to mention many others) come under the following classes have their true interpretation thus laid open, and are generally utterly unmeaning on any other hypothesis.

1. Those which, like some of the foregoing, speak of the efficacy of the sufferings of Christ for the remission of sins. In this class the two following may be given as examples. Heb. ii, 14, "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death," &c. Here the efficacy of the death of Christ is explicitly stated; but as explicitly is it said to he the death of one who partook of flesh and blood, or who assumed human nature. The power of deliverance is ascribed to him who thus invested himself with a nature below that of his own original nature; but in that lower nature HE dies, and by that DEATH he delivers those who had been all their lifetime subject to bondage. The second is Colossians i, 14, &c, "In whom we have redemption through HIS blood, even the forgiveness of sins, WHO is the image of the invisible God," &c. In this passage, the lofty description which is given of the person of Christ stands in immediate connection with the mention of the efficacy of "his blood," and is to be considered as the reason why, through that blood, redemption and remission of sins became attainable. Thus "without shedding of blood there could be no remission ;" but the blood of Jesus only is thus efficacious, who is "the image of the invisible God," the "Creator" of all things. His blood it could not be but for the hypostatical union; and it is equally true, that but for that he could have had no blood to shed; because, as "the image of the invisible God," that is, God's equal, or God himself, his nature was incapable of death.

2. In the second class are all those passages which argue from the compassion which our Lord manifested in his humiliation, and his own experience of sufferings, to the exercise of confidence in him by his people in dangers and afflictive circumstances. Of these the following may be given for the sake of illustration. Heb. iv, 15, 16, "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Several similar passages occur in the early part of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the argument of them all is precisely the same. The humiliation of our Lord, and his acquaintance with human woes, may assure us of his sympathy; but sympathy is not help. lie is represented, therefore, as the source of" succour," as the "Author of salvation," "the Captain of our salvation," in consequence of the sufferings he endured; and to him all his people are directed to fly for aid in prayer, and by entire trust in his power, grace, and presence, to assure themselves that timely succour and final salvation shall be bestowed upon them by him. Now here, also, it is clear, that the sufferer and the Saviour are the same person. The man might suffer; but sufferings could not enable the man to save; they could give no new qualification to human nature, nor bestow upon that nature any new right. But, beside the nature which suffered, and learned the bitterness of human woes by experience, there is a nature which can know the sufferings of all others, in all places, at all times; which can also ascertain the "time of need" with exactness, and the "grace" suitable to it; which can effectually "help" and sus­tain the sorrows of the very heart, a power peculiar to Divinity, and finally bestow "eternal salvation." This must be Divine; but it is one in personal union with that which suffered and was taught sympathy, and it is this union constitutes that "GREAT HIGH PRIEST" of our profession, that "merciful and faithful High Priest," who is able "to succour us when we are tempted." Thus, as it has been well observed on this subject, "It is by the union of two natures in one person that Christ is qualified to be the Saviour of the world. He became man, that, with the greatest possible advantage to those whom he was sent to instruct, he might teach them the nature and the will of God; that his life might be their example; that by being once compassed with the infirmities of human nature, he might give them assurance of his fellow feeling; that by suffering on the cross he might make atonement for their sins; and that in his reward they might behold the earnest and the pattern of theirs.

"But had Jesus been only man, or had he been one of the spirits that surround the throne of God, he could not have accomplished the work which he undertook: for the whole obedience of every creature being due to the Creator, no part of that obedience can be placed to the account of other creatures, so as to supply the defects of their service, or to rescue them from the punishment which they deserve. The Scriptures, therefore, reveal, that he who appeared upon earth as man, is also God, and as God, was mighty to save; and by this revelation they teach us, that the merit of our Lord's obedience, and the efficacy of his interposition, depend upon the hypostatical union.

"All modern sects of Christians agree in admitting that the greatest benefits arise to us from the Saviour of the world being man; but the Arians and Socinians contend earnestly, that his sufferings do not derive any value from his being God; and their reasoning is specious. You say, they argue, that Jesus Christ, who suffered for the sins of men, is both God and man. You must either say that God suffered, or that ho did not suffer: if you say that God suffered, you do indeed affix an infinite value to the sufferings; but you affirm that the Godhead is capable of suffering, which is both impious and absurd: if you say that God did not suffer, then, although the person that suffered had both a Divine and a human nature, the sufferings were merely those of a man, for, according to your own system, the two natures are distinct, and the Divine is impassible.

"In answer to this method of arguing, we may admit that the Godhead cannot suffer, and we do not pretend to explain the kind of support which the human nature derived, under its sufferings, from the Divine, or the manner in which the two were united. But from the uniform language of Scripture, which magnifies the love of God in giving his only-begot ten Son, which speaks in the highest terms of the preciousness of the blood of Christ, which represents him as coming, in the body that was prepared for him, to do that which sacrifice and burnt offering could not do: from all this we infer that there was a value, a merit, in the suffer­ings of this person, superior to that which belonged to the sufferings of any other: and as the same Scriptures intimate, in numberless places, the strictest union between the Divine and human nature of Christ, by applying to him promiscuously the actions which belong to each nature, we hold that it is impossible for us to separate in our imagination, this peculiar value which they affix to his sufferings from the peculiar dig. city of his person.

"The hypostatical union, then, is the corner stone of our religion. We are too much accustomed, in all our researches, to perceive that things are united, without our being able to investigate the bond which unites them, to feel any degree of surprise that we cannot answer all the questions which ingenious men have proposed upon this subject; but we can clearly discern, in those purposes of the incarnation of the Son of God which the Scriptures declare, the reason why they have dwelt so largely upon his Divinity; and if we are careful to take into our view the whole of that description which they give of the person by whom the remedy in the Gospel was brought; if, in our speculations concern­ing him, we neither lose sight of the two parts which are clearly revealed, nor forget, what we cannot comprehend, that union between the two parts which is necessarily implied in the revelation of them, we shall perceive, in the character of the Messiah, a completeness and a suitableness to the design of his coming, which of themselves create a strong presumption that we have rightly interpreted the Scriptures." (Dr. Hill.)

On this evidence from the Holy Scriptures the doctrine of the Divi­nity of our blessed Saviour rests. Into the argument from antiquity my limits will not allow me to enter. If the great "falling away," predicted by St. Paul, had involved, generally, this high doctrine; if both the Latin and Greek Churches had wholly departed from the faith, instead of having united, without intermission, to say, "Thou art the King of glory, 0 Christ," "Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father," the truth of God would not have been made of "none effect." God would still have been true, though every man, from the age of inspiration, had become "a liar." The Socinians have, of late years, shown great anxiety to obtain some suffrages from antiquity in their favour, and have collected every instance possible of early departure from the faith. They might, indeed, have found heretical pravity and its adherents, without travelling out of the New Testament; men not only near the apostolic age, but in the very days of the apostles, who rejected the resurrection, who consented not "to wholesome doctrine," who made "shipwreck of faith," as well as of a good conscience, who denied "the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ," "the Lord that bought them." This kind of antiquity is, in truth, in their favour; and, as human nature is substantially the same in all ages, there is as much reason to expect errors in one age as another; but that any body of Christians, in any sense entitled to be considered as an acknowledged branch of the Church of Christ, can be found, in primitive times, to give any sanction to their opinions and interpretations of Scripture, they have failed to establish. For full information on the subject of the opinions of the primitive Churches, and a full refutation of all the pretences which Arians and Socinians, in these later times, have made to be, in

part, supported by primitive authority, the works of Bishop Bull, Dr. Waterland, and Bishop Horsley,[2] must be consulted; and the result will show, that in the interpretation of the Scriptures given above, we are supported by the successive and according testimonies of all that is truly authoritative in those illustrious ages which furnished so many imperishable writings for the edification of the future Church, and so many martyrs and confessors of" the truth as it is in Jesus."

Among the numerous errors, with respect to the person of our Lord, which formerly sprung up in the Church, and were opposed, with an ever watchful zeal, by its authorities, three only can be said to have much influence in the present day, Arianism, Sabellianism, and Socinianism. In our own country, the two former are almost entirely merged in the last, whose characteristic is the tenet of the simple humanity of Christ. ARIUS, who gave his name to the first, seems to have wrought some of the floating errors of previous times into a kind of system, which, however, underwent various modifications among his followers. The distinguishing tenet of this system was, that Christ was the first and most exalted of creatures; that he was produced in a peculiar manner, and endowed with great perfections; that by him God made tire world; that he alone proceeded immediately from GOD, while other things were produced mediately by him, and that all things were put under his administration. The semi-Arians divided from the Arians, but still differed from the orthodox, in refusing to admit that the Son was homoousios, or of the same substance with the Father; but acknowledged him to be homoiousios, of a like substance with the Father. It was only, however, in appearance that they came nearer to the truth than the Arians themselves, for they contended that this likeness to the Father in essence was not by nature, but by peculiar privilege. In their system Christ, therefore, was but a creature. A still farther refinement on this doctrine was, in this country, advocated by Dr. Samuel Clarke, which Dr. Waterland, his great and illustrious opponent, showed, notwithstanding the orthodox terms employed, still implied that Christ was a created being, unless an evident absurdity were admitted.[3]

The Sabellian doctrine stands equally opposed to trinitarianism and to the Arian system. It asserts the Divinity of the Son and the Spirit against the latter, and denies the personality of both, in opposition to the former. Sabellius taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are only denominations of one hypostasis; in other words, that there is but one person in the Godhead, and that the Son or Word are virtues, ema­nations, or functions only: that, under the Old Testament God delivered the law as Father; under the New, dwelt among men, or was incar­nate, as the Son; and descended on the apostles as the Spirit. Because their scheme, by denying a real Sonship, obliged them to acknow­ledge that it was the Father who suffered for the sins of men, the Sa­bellians were often, in the early ages, called Patripassians.

On the refutation of these errors it is not necessary to dwell, both because they have now little influence, and chiefly because both are involved in the Socinian question, and are decided by the establishment of the Scriptural doctrine of a trinity of Divine persons in the unity of the Godhead. If Jesus Christ be the Divine Son of God; if he was "sent" from Cod, and "returned" to God; if he distinguished himself from the Father both in his Divine and human nature, saying, as to the former, "I and my Father are ONE," and as to tire latter, " My Father is GREATER than 1;" if there be any meaning at all in his declaration, "that no man knoweth the Son but the Father, and no man knoweth the Father but the Son," words which cannot, by any possibility, be spoken of an official distinction, or of an emanation or operation; then all these passages prove a real personality, and are incapable of being explained by a modal one. This is the answer to the Sabellian opinion; and as to the Arian hypothesis, it falls, with Socinianism, before that series of proofs which has already been adduced from Holy Writ, to establish the eterniity, consubstantiality, coequality, and, consequently, the proper Divinity of our Redeemer; and, perhaps, the true reason why not even the semi-Arianism, argued with so much subtlety by Dr. Samuel Clarke, has been able to retain any influence among us, is less to be attributed to the able and learned writings of Dr. Waterland and others, who chased the error through all its changeful transformations, than to the manifest impossibility of conceiving of a being which is neither truly God nor a creature; and tire total absence of all counte­nance in the Scriptures, however tortured, in favour of this opinion. Socinianism assumes a plausibility in some of its aspects, because Christ was really a man; but semi-Arianism is a mere hypothesis, which can scarcely find a text of Scripture to pervert.


[1] "___________ h. e. vere, perfectissime, non typice, et umbraliter, sicut in V. T. Deus se manifestavit. Est autem inhabitatio illa et unio personalis, et singu larissima." (Glassius.)

[2] See also Wilson's Illustration of the Method of explaining the New Testa­ment by the early Opinions of Jews and Christians concerning Christ; and Dr. Jamieson's Vindication, &c.


[3] Dr. Samuel Clarke's hypothesis was, that there is one Supreme Being, who is the Father, and two subordinate, derived, and dependent beings. But he objected to call Christ a creature, thinking him something between a created and a self-existent nature. Dr. C. appealed to the fathers; and Petavius, a learned Jesuit, in his Dogmata Theologica, had previously endeavoured to prove that the ante-Nicene fathers leaned to Arianism. Bishop Bull, in his great work on this subject, and Dr. Waterland may be considered as having fully put that question to rest in opposition to both.