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Now, from what hath been thus discoursed, we learn two reasons, why our blessed Lord may be truly styled God.
First, by reason of his divine excellencies, he having derived from the Father the like excellencies to those by which the Father himself doth govern the world, and exereiseth his divine power over all things, namely, a providence ruling over all things, a right to judge all men, and a knowledge of the secrets of the hearts of them whom he is to judge.
And hence most of the Ante-nicene Fathers say, that he is, είκων της Πατρικής Θεότητος, και διά τούτο Θεός, the image of the Father's deity, and therefore God.
Secondly, because he hath dominion over all things in heaven and earth, and God hath put all things under his feet. For, seeing God hath given that very dominion, which he himself exerciseth, into the hands of the Son, he must have thereby constituted him truly God and Lord over us. And, though he was qualified for this dominion before by his divine excellencies, he could not have them given him before there was
a heaven and an earth, over which he should have dominion.*
[The word God, is used in various significations by the sacred writers, both in the Old and New Testament,
1. It denotes the Supreme Being, the Creator and Governor of
2. It is applied to angels, or celestial beings. “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be gods
Hence, even of God the Father, Tertullian saith, though he was always God, he was not always Lord, nam ex quo esse cæperunt in quæ potestas domini ageret, er illo per accessionem potestatis, et factus, et dictus est dominus ; and again, Sic et dominus non ante ea quorum dominus existeret, sed dominus tantum futurus quandoque--per ea quæ sibi servitura fecisset,* “ He was not Lord, nor to be called so, till he had made those creatures, over which he was to have dominion.”
66 Make us
many and lords many; but to us there is but one God, the Father.” 1 Cor. viii. 5. 3. Moses is called by this name.
“ And the Lord said unto Moses, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh.” Exod. vii. 1.
4. Magistrates, judges, and kings are called gods. “ Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of the people.” Exod. xxii. 28. “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods. I have said, ye are gods." Psalms lxxxii. 1. 6.
5. It is used to denote the images of heathen deities. gods to go before us. Acts vii. 40. And also to express those deities themselves. “ The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men." Acts xiv. 11.
From these different uses of the word, it appears, that it does not relate to the nature or essence of the being or object to which it is applied; but rather to their superiority, either in power, or goodness, or both. It has not, therefore, a uniform and definite meaning. It is a relative term, and implies degrees. Such is the scriptural application of the term, and in this manner was it also employed by the ancient heathen writers, and the early christian fathers.
* Contra Hermog. c. 3. p. 234,
Hence it follows, that the Son of God must be truly inferior to God the Father, and the Father truly superior to him, since he who receiveth all his power and excellencies from the Father, and hath them all derived from him in whom they are selfexistent and underived; he who is sent by, and is obedient to his Father's will, must be inferior to him who sent him. * And hence it follows, that the worship due unto him, though it be divine, is inferior worship, as being the worship of one, to whom the Father hath given all dominion both in heaven and earth. In Heaven; “For when God brought forth his first begotten into the world, he said, let all the angels of God worship him.” Heb. i. 6. And St Peter informs us, “ That angels, authorities, and powers, are made subject unto him.” 1 Pet. iii. 22. In earth ; " For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent him." John v. 22, 23.
The Greeks and Romans, says Le Clerc, had no knowledge of a being, who had existed without beginning, or who was possessed of all perfections ; nor did the Hebrews embrace these perfections in the idea which they attached to the word '75%, God. Some of the philosophers among the gentiles, and particularly the Platonists, had a notion of the Deity, very nearly resembling that of Christians, but it was not in the power of philosophers to correct the use of language among the common people. The poets had a much greater influence, and they represented the gods as coming into existence after the heavens and the earth ; and their Chaos had an origin still anterior to these.
The early Christians seem to have been much influenced in many respects by the opinions prevalent among the heathens, and especially in the use of the term God. They did not confine it, as is the practice at present, to the Supreme Being, but applied it to Christ, even when they allowed him to be subordinate to the Most High. Hence we find Novatian saying, that the “Father is God over all," and the “ Son is God over all other things subject to him." And Eusebius tells us, that the “Son is God, because he is the image of the Father's deity.” It is true, this was only giving the same name to the Son as to the
* Το γάρ υπακούειν τον δε τώ δε, δυειν γένοιτ' άν προσώπων παραστατικών. Eus. Ecc. Theol. L. 1. c. 20. p. 94.
Now, hence it is plain, that because Christ was the Son of man, therefore the Father gave him authority to execute judgment, or committed all judgment to him. And, because God gave him authority to execute judgment, therefore all men should honour him even as they honour the Father; that is, in other words, Christ's honour and worship are founded upon the Father's gift ; and the reason
Father, without altering the nature of either ; but names do their office very poorly, when they confound, rather than distinguish things. At that time, for reasons above stated, this use of language was more allowable, than at present. Among Christians the word God, seems now to be exclusively appropriated to the Almighty; and it must be considered as an improper use of the term to apply it to the Son, unless he is believed to be the Supreme Being.
For an extended view of this subject, see Clerici Art. Crit. P. II. S. I. c. II. Reg. 2.-Also, Schleusner in verb. Ords, Hallet's Notes and Discourses. Vol. II. p. 214. EDITOR.]
of the Father's giving it, was his becoming the Son of man.
Surely then the most high God must be superior to the Son of man; and he that gave this honour to him, must be superior to him, who received it from him as his gift.
Hence, St Paul informs us, “that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11. Now he, who is made Lord, to the glory of God the Father, cannot be the same Lord with God the Father ; since, then, he must be Lord, and God to his own glory. All that Dr Waterland offers, to evade the force of this text, is fully considered, and confuted by the ingenious author of The unity of God, in his answer to the Dr’s remarks, page 38. But against this, Dr Waterland objects these words of Irenæus, Qui super se habet aliquem superiorem, et sub alterius potestate, est hic neque Deus, neque magnus rex dici potest ;* that is, “ he that hath another superior to him, and is under the power of another, cannot be called God, or a great king.” Not considering, or rather unduly concealing, that these words were spoken against the heresies of the
* L. 1. c. 29. p. 104,