J. H. Parker, 1844.
[Spelling selectively modernized. Bible citations converted to all Arabic numerals. Footnotes moved into or near places of citation. Hebrew characters omitted.
Discourse 1 – The doctrine or the Catholic Church for the first three ages of Christianity, concerning the blessed trinity, considered, in opposition to Sabellianism and Tritheism.
Discourse 2 – The principal parts and branches of the pastoral office, with Rules and directions for the due performance of each of them. In a charge to the clergy of the diocese of St. David’s.
Discourse 3 – Concerning the spirit of God in the faithful; how and in what manner it doth bear witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God; and what degree of hope or persuasion concerning their adoption this witness of the Spirit doth ordinarily produce in the faithful.
Discourse 4 – The consubstantiality and coeternity of the Son of God with God the Father, asserted: or, some few animadversions on a treatise of Mr. Gilbert Clerke, entitled, Ante-nicenismus; so far as the said author pretends to answer Dr. G. Bull’s Defence or the Nicene faith, etc.
Discourse 5 – Concerning the first covenant, and the state of man before the fall, according to scripture, and the sense of the primitive doctors of the catholic church. Written at the request of a friend.
1. The vindication of the Church of England from the errors and corruptions of the church of Rome. Wherein, as is largely proved, the rule of faith, and all the fundamental articles of the Christian religion, are received, taught, professed, and acknowledged. Written at the request of the Countess of Newbrugh, in answer to a celebrated Roman Catholic treatise, entitled, “The Catholic Scripturist.”
2. The corruptions of the Church of Rome, in relation to ecclesiastical government, the rule of faith, and form of divine worship; in answer to the Bishop of Meaux’s queries.
Discourse 1. – The doctrine of the Catholic Church for the first three ages of Christianity, concerning the Blessed Trinity, considered, in opposition to Sabellianism and Tritheism. [[This Discourse was written 1697, for the satisfaction of Lord Arundel, as is stated at length in the Life, § lxxxii. p. 422.]]
The unanimous sense of the Catholic Doctors of the Church, for the first three ages of Christianity, concerning the article of the Trinity, is in short this:
I. That there are in the Godhead three (not mere names or modes, but) really distinct hypostases or persons, the Father, the Son or Word of God, and the Holy Ghost.
II. That these three Persons are one God; which they thus explain:
1. There is but one fountain or principle of Divinity, God the Father, Who only is ________, God of and from Himself; the Son and Holy Ghost deriving their Divinity from Him; the Son immediately from the Father, the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, or from the Father by the Son.
2. The Son and Holy Ghost are so derived from the fountain of the Divinity, as that they are not separate or separable from it, but do still exist in it, and are most intimately united to it.
All the Fathers insist upon this, that if there were more than one fountain of the Divinity, or if the three Persons were each of them a self-dependent principle of Divinity, or if the three Persons were separate from each other, then there would be three Gods. But being there is but one fountain of the Divinity, the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost deriving their Divinity from that fountain, and that so, as still to exist in it, and be inseparably united to it, there is but one God. That this is the unanimous consent and constant doctrine of the primitive Fathers, I have fully shewed in my Defensio Fidei Nicenae. I shall here resume, and more fully explain, only one testimony which I have there alleged, because it chews us what was then accounted Sabellianism, what Tritheism, and what the Catholic doctrine concerning the blessed Trinity; matters so hotly disputed among us at this day.
Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, who flourished about the year 259, whom his great namesake of Alexandria styles ______ __ ___ _________, “a learned and wonderful man,” in an Epistle against the Sabellians (which doubtless he wrote, as the manner then was, with the advice and consent of the Clergy of his Diocese synodically convened), after he had refuted the doctrine of Sabellius, [Apud Athan. de Decret. Syn. Nic. tom. i. p. 275. [c. 26. vol. i. p. 231.]] thus proceeds to discourse against the contrary heresy of those “who divide and cut asunder, and overthrow the most sacred doctrine of the Church of God, parting the Monarchy into three certain powers and hypostases, separated from each other, and consequently into three Deities. For I hear that there are some catechists and teachers of the word of God among you, who maintain this opinion; therein diametrically, if I may so speak, opposing the hypothesis of Sabellius. For he blasphemeth by affirming that the Father is the Son, and, on the other side, that the Son is the Father; but these men in a manner teach three Gods, whilst they divide the holy Unity into hypostases, alien and wholly divided from each other. For it is absolutely necessary that we hold, that the Divine Word is united to the God of all things, and that the Holy Ghost remains and dwells in God; and also, that the Divine Trinity is gathered together and united into one, as into a certain head; I mean the omnipotent God, the Father of all things.” [And afterwards in the conclusion he saith, that in this way only, ___ _ ____ _____ ___ __ _____ _______ ___ _________ __________, i.e. “Both the Divine Trinity,” (that is, a real Trinity,) “and also the holy doctrine of the Monarchy, can be preserved.” [p. 232.]]
Here we see what is Sabellianism, viz. To affirm that the Son is the Father, and the Father the Son; and consequently that the Holy Ghost is the same with both. And all they come very near this heresy, who acknowledge only a modal distinction between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What is Tritheism he also spews us plainly, viz. That it is to hold, that the three Persons in the Trinity are of a different nature, or separated and divided from each other; or that there is more than one fountain or principle of the Divinity. According to which account, Dr. Sherlock is certainly clear from the charge of Tritheism: the Catholic doctrine he declares to be this, “That there are three really distinct hypostases in the Godhead, and yet that there is but one God; because the Father only is the Head of the Divinity, and the Son and Holy Ghost, as they are derived from Him, so they exist in Him, and are inseparably united to Him.”
Of such a distinction and union of persons we have indeed no example, or exact similitude among created beings: but what then? It does not follow that therefore there cannot be such a distinction and union in the transcendent and most spiritual nature of God. The Antitrinitarians can never produce a demonstrative reason to prove that this cannot be; and Divine Revelation assures us that so it is. The most weighty arguments that are brought by the Antitrinitarians against a distinction of hypostases in the Godhead are reducible to one, which if well answered, the rest will fall to the ground. The argument is this:
The most simple being admits of no distinction.
God is the most simple being;
Therefore God admits of no distinction.
Answer. If the Antitrinitarians that make this objection, are the Socinians among us, as I presume they are, it is news to hear that they should argue from the simplicity of the Godhead, seeing the great masters of that sect, Socinus, Crellius, etc. held that God is a material Being, and consequently compounded of matter and form. Express citations to this purpose may be seen in Dr. Edwards’s Antidote against Socinianism. [Part I. p. 65, 66.]
This opinion they held, because they could not conceive how there can be any substance that is purely spiritual, and abstracted from all matter: and if they could have conceived this, perhaps they would not have stuck at the doctrine of the Trinity. For the great difficulty of conceiving a Trinity in Unity in the Godhead, arises chiefly from hence, that men are apt to measure the Divine nature from ideas and notions taken from material things. But to the purpose:
1. The simplicity of the Divine nature does indeed exclude all mixture; i.e. all composition of things heterogeneous in the Godhead, there being nothing in God but what is God; but for all that, there may be distinction of hypostases in the Godhead, provided they are homogeneous, and of the same nature, as the Catholic doctrine teaches.
2. The simplicity of the Divine nature, if rightly considered, is so far from excluding, that it necessarily infers a distinction of hypostases in the Godhead. For wherein does the simplicity of the Godhead especially consist but in this, that God is a pure eternal mind, free from the mixture of all kind of matter whatsoever? Now an eternal mind must needs have in it from eternity an ______ or _____, “a notion or conception of itself,” which the schools term verbum mentis; nor can it be conceived without it. This word in God cannot be, as it is in us, a transient, vanishing accident, for then the Divine nature would indeed be compounded of substance and accident, which would be repugnant to its simplicity; but it must be a substantial subsisting word. The great Apostolical Bishop of Neocresarea, Gregory, surnamed Thaumaturgus, in his Panegyric to Origen (by all confessed to be genuine) calls it, “the most perfect, living, and animate word of the very first mind.” [___________ ___ _____ ___ _____ ___ Ļ_____ ___ _____ _______.] This word also is manifestly (though not divided, yet) distinct from the eternal mind from whence it proceeds. And this is no novel subtlety of the schools, but a notion that runs through all the Fathers, even those of the first ages, as appears from the testimonies produced out of them in my Defensio Fidei Nicenae, and it is also grounded on Holy Scripture.
Hence the excellent Athanasius, than whom no man better understood the sense of Scripture and the Doctors of the Church that were before him in the article of the Trinity, insists upon it in his Oration against the Sabellians. In the beginning of which, having first shewn how the Catholic Church of Christ, in her notion and worship of God, differs from the Heathens and Jews, he proceeds to declare the difference betwixt the orthodox Christians and the Sabellians, and other Unitarians of his time, who, under pretense of defending the Unity of the Godhead, denied all distinction of hypostases therein. His words are these; “We are separated also from those who corrupt Christianity with Judaism, who, denying the God of God, profess one God as the Jews do, affirming Him (the Father) to be the only God, not upon account that He only is unbegotten, and the only Fountain of the Deity, but as if He were without a Son, and barren, and void of His living Word and true Wisdom. For they conceive the word of God to be such as proceeds from the mind of man, and His wisdom to be such as that of ours; and therefore affirm God with His Word to be one Person, just as we say that a man together with his word is one man; being in this no wiser than the Jews, who own not the Evangelist in the beginning of his Gospel, proclaiming, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ For if God hath a word in His mind not really begotten of Him as God of God, how could ‘the Word be with God,’ and how could it be ‘God’? For the word conceived in the mind of man is not a man with another man, seeing it neither lives nor subsists, but is only a motion or operation of the same living subsisting mind.”
This great man took it for granted, that St. John, in the text alleged, meant that “the Word was with God in the beginning,” before any created being existed, and consequently that He is called “the Word of God,” not with respect to the creatures (though it is true that He afterwards revealed the will of God to mankind, and might in that respect also be called “the Word of God”), but with respect to God the Father, Whose Word He eternally was, and with Whom He was “in the beginning”; and therefore He was not the same hypostasis with Him, and yet He was God as well as the Father. He had never heard of the senseless interpretation of Socinus, who by “the beginning” in that text understands “the beginning of the Gospel”; there being then no heretic (among those many that opposed the Divinity of our Lord) who had the confidence to advance so ridiculous a sense of those words: Laelius Socinus hath the honour of that interpretation.
If it be objected, that all this being granted proves only two hypostases in the Godhead, not a Trinity; I answer, 1. This proves that a distinction of hypostases in the Godhead is very consistent with its simplicity; nay, that from the true notion of the simplicity of the Godhead, such a distinction necessarily follows. 2. If there be two hypostases in the Godhead, there may be a third; and that there is a third, the Holy Scripture assures us. Indeed, I do not remember that any of the Fathers of the first three centuries have attempted to explain distinctly the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, or from the Father by the Son; there being little or no dispute concerning the Divinity of the Holy Ghost till Macedonius appeared, and disputed the faith of the Church in that article. For before him, all the Antitrinitarians, of what sort soever, chose especially to oppugn the Divinity of the Son of God, taking occasion from those texts of Scripture which respect His human nature, and that economy which for our salvation He took upon Him. Which pretense seeing they had not to make use of in disputing against the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, they thought it best to say nothing of it, contenting themselves in opposing the Divinity of the Son, and by consequence to overthrow that of the Holy Spirit. But in general I have observed, that those primitive Fathers held the Holy Ghost to be as it were vinculum Trinitatis, “ the bond of the Holy Trinity,” the union of Father and Son. Hence some ancient doxologies run thus, “Glory be to the Father and the Son in the unity of the Holy Ghost.” And the most learned Christian philosopher, Athenagoras, who flourished very near the first succession of the Apostles, expressly affirms the Father and the Son to be one, _______ _________, [[p. 287. in ed. Just. Mart.]] i.e. “by the unity of the Spirit;” which I think imports the same thing with what St. Augustin and other later Fathers say, that the Holy Ghost is Amor Patris et Filii. But this by the way.
There is. another notion which frequently occurs in the writings of the primitive Fathers, tending to shew the incongruity of asserting the Godhead to be so simple a Being, as to be ____Ļ____Ļ__, “a solitary single hypostasis,” which hath also a foundation in the Holy Scriptures, and it is this; “without acknowledging a distinction of hypostases in the Godhead, we cannot well conceive that _________ which we attribute to God, i.e. His self-sufficiency and most perfect bliss and happiness in Himself alone, before and without all created beings.”* But by admitting this it plainly appears, that Himself alone is a most perfect and blessed society, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit eternally conversing with and enjoying each other. See Prov. 8:22–31 inclusive: where the wisdom of God, which is said to be “with God from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth was, and to be His continual delight,” all the Fathers unanimously understood to be (as indeed the words themselves literally and plainly import) _____ _Ļ______, “a subsisting personal wisdom,” i.e. the Son of God, who is accordingly by St. Paul expressly styled “the wisdom of God.” [1 Cor. 1:24.] And that the _____, or “Son of God,” was known by the ancient Jews themselves under the title of “the wisdom of God,” sufficiently appears from many passages in Philo, and from the author of the Book of Wisdom, 7:26, compared with Col. 1:15 and Heb. 1:3.
*[Ante omnia Deus erat solus, ipse sibi et mundus et locus et omnia: solus autem quia nihil aliud extrinsecus praeter ipsum; caeterum ne tunc quidem solus; habebat enim secum, quam habebat in seipso, rationem suam scilicet. Hanc Graeci _____ dicunt. Tertul. advers. Prax. cap. v. Satis igitur nobis scire solum, nihil esse Dee coaevum; nihil erat praeter ipsum, ipse solus multus erat. Neque enim erat sine ratione (Gr. __ ____), etc. Hippol. Hom. de Deo trino et uno. Bibl. PP. tom. xv. p. 622. __ _____ _____, ____ _________ ___ ___ _________ ____ __ ____ __’ ____ _Ļ___________ ___ ____ ___ ___ ________ ____ _____ ___________ ______ _____ _ Ļ___________ ____ ___ ____ ___ ______ __________. Origin apud Athanasium, tom. i. pa. 277. [de Decret. Nic. c. 27. p. 233.]
To conclude: The doctrine of the Church concerning the blessed Trinity hath been abundantly confirmed by Catholic writers, both ancient and modern, from many clear texts out of the Holy Scriptures; which, as they assert the unity of the Godhead, so do they also plainly teach us, that there are three to whom the essential attributes and proper operations of the Godhead do belong, viz. the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The interpretations, whereby Socinus and his more immediate followers endeavoured to elude the texts alleged by the Catholics, are so manifestly forced and strained, that I do not see how any honest mind, that bears any reverence or respect to the sacred Scriptures, can away with them. This the Socinians among us of late seem to be sensible of; and therefore have taken a shorter, but more desperate course, by calling in question the authority of the principal Scriptures alleged by us. Thus the author of the pamphlet, entitled The Judgment of the Fathers, etc. disputes the authority of the Gospel of St. John. For he tells us from Epiphanius, that the Alogians or Alogi (whom, according to his accustomed impudence, he highly magnifies, and affirms to be the purest and most ancient gentile Christians, yea, and coeval with the Apostles, whereas Epiphanius [Haer. LI. in ipso initio.] expressly saith, that the heresy of the Alogi appeared in the world after the Cataphrygians, (or Montanists), the Quintilians, and the sect of the Quartodecimani, and therefore could not be earlier than about the beginning of the third century) were so called, because they denied the _____, or “Word,” of which St. John speaks in his Gospel, Epistles, and Revelations. They said, that all those pieces were written by Cerinthus, under the name of St. John; and in his Considerations he produceth their arguments, and with this preface, that he “should be glad to see a good answer to the exceptions of those Unitarians against those books we receive of St. John’s.” Which implies, that he thinks those arguments (which in truth are but senseless cavils) have not been sufficiently answered by Epiphanius, or any other Catholic; and that he himself cannot tell how to answer them, and therefore must submit to the force of them, till he receives better information.
Now as for the Apocalypse; we acknowledge that it hath been questioned by some, not only heretics, but Catholics; but upon slight grounds, as hath been sufficiently shewed by divers learned interpreters, and particularly by Grotius, in the preface to his Annotations upon it. The second and third Epistles also have been, and still are, doubted of by many, who rather think them to be written by St. John the Presbyter; (see Grotius again in the preface to his Notes on the second Epistle). But as for the Gospel and first Epistle attributed to St. John, they have always been received in the Church of God as his undoubted and genuine writings. They are cited as St. John’s by the Catholic Fathers that lived nearest the times of that Apostle; and particularly by Irenaeus, who was an auditor of St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John.
As for their being written by Cerinthus the heretic, no man in his wits, and that understands anything of the dogmata of Cerinthus, can imagine it. For it is evident that the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, and divers passages throughout his first Epistle, are directly opposite to the Cerinthian hypothesis, as I have fully shewn [Jud. Eccl. Cath. II, 3. et seqq.]; and accordingly, Irenaeus and others of the ancients testify, that they were purposely written by St. John against the Cerinthian heresy, which in his time began to trouble the Church. So that those heretics who fathered the Gospel and first Epistle, which we receive as St. John’s, upon Cerinthus, were by Epiphanius deservedly named ______, men in this void of all sense and reason.
But before I dismiss this account of the Alogi from Epiphanius, I must not omit by the way to observe, that they rejected, not only his Gospel and Revelation, but his Epistles also, and all upon the same account, because in them there was mention made of the divine _____, which they disowned, affirming Christ to be entirely and wholly a mere man that had no existence before the blessed Virgin. Now where is there any text in the Epistles of St. John concerning the _____, that should give such offence to the Alogi? Surely the most likely text is that in the first Epistle [Chapter 5:7.]; “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word” (_ _____), “and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” This text then was extant in the Greek copies of the first Epistle of St. John, in the age wherein the Alogi lived, i.e. about the beginning of the third century. And accordingly Tertullian, who then flourished, manifestly alludes to it in his book against Praxeas, [Cap. xxv.] in these words, “Connexus Patris in Filio, et in Paracleto, tres efficit cohaerentes, alterum ex altero, qui tres unum sunt (__ _____ __ _____), non unus.” And not long after him, St. Cyprian more clearly and fully, “De Patre, Filio, et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est, hi tres unum sunt.” [De Unitate Eccl. cap. iv. prope finem.] But to proceed.
The same author tells us, [Judgment of the Fathers, p. 30.] “He cannot believe that the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth verses of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews were originally a part of that Epistle, but have been fraudulently added.” Who can help the infidelity of one who is such a slave to his hypothesis as to resolve to believe nothing against it, though never so certain? Those verses are found in all the Greek copies of the Epistle to the Hebrews at this day extant; and all ancient versions of that Epistle, the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic, render them. But the divine author’s applying the words of the Psalmist concerning the creation of heaven and earth to the Son of God, [Verses 10–12.] is so clear a proof of His Divinity, that the Socinian knew not what to say to it, and therefore resolves it shall be no Scripture. Indeed he would seem to slight the argument of the Catholics from those verses, if admitted to be a part of the Epistle, and would persuade us that it is easily answered, by saying, that “the heavens and earth” there meant, are only the “new heavens and earth” foretold by the Prophets, even the Gospel economy and state.
But can the heavens and earth, which are said to be made ___’ _____, “in the beginning,” or of old, as it is in Psalm 102:25, possibly be understood of the new heavens and earth, foretold by the Prophets, as to come? Can it be said of the new heavens and earth, or the Gospel state, that they “shall perish and wax old as a garment, and as a vesture be folded up?” Certainly whoever can give credit to such an interpretation must be given up to a reprobate mind.
But, O Deus! in quae nos tempora reservasti, ut ista patiamur? as the blessed Martyr Polycarp was wont to say, when he heard the blasphemies of the heretics of his time: the same wretched author is not afraid to say, “There are shrewd presumptions, that to the institution of Baptism by our Saviour, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, these words have been added, ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.’” [Judgment of the Father., p. 22.]
They are presumptions, and shrewd presumptions indeed, that are opposed to the faith of all the copies of St. Matthew’s Gospel at this day extant, and to all the ancient versions of it, and to the practice of the universal Church of Christ throughout the world, founded on these words, as undoubtedly the words of our Saviour. But what are the shrewd presumptions he speaks of? He names but one, and that is this: “It appears in the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles, that the Apostles never baptized in that form of words, but only in the name of the Lord Jesus.” But where doth this appear, either in the Acts or Epistles of the Apostles, that when the Apostles baptized any man, they did it in this form only, “I baptize thee in the name of the Lord Jesus?” It is said indeed, that “they baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus;” i.e. into the faith and religion of the Lord Jesus; viz. according to the form of Baptism prescribed by the Lord Jesus Himself, i.e. “In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Are not they baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, that are baptized according to that form? do not we all understand the Lord Jesus to be meant by the second Person named in that form, viz. the Son? Hence Grotius upon those words, Acts 19:5, “And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” hath this note, “In nomen Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” And for this he refers us to his notes on Matt. 28:19, where he handles this matter at large.
Indeed this will clearly appear, if we do but look back to the verses preceding the aforementioned text in the Acts: there we read, [Verse 1–3.] that St. Paul, meeting with certain Christians at Ephesus, asked them whether they had “received the Holy Ghost?” To which they answered, that they had “not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” St. Paul, wondering at this, replies, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” As if he had said, How can you be ignorant whether there be any Holy Ghost? have you not been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? If not, after what form, or how have you been baptized? “And they said, Unto John’s baptism.” John indeed, as the Apostle rejoins, only baptized unto repentance, thereby to prepare men for the reception of the Messiah, that was to come after him. He did not baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus, i.e. “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This form of Baptism was first appointed by our Saviour Himself, and that not till after the resurrection, just before He was to ascend into heaven, and from thence soon after to pour out the Holy Ghost after a wonderful manner upon the Apostles. Then, and not before, they were commanded by our Lord to baptize, “in plena et adunata Trinitate,” as St. Cyprian [Epist. ad Jubaianum.] expresses it.
To the most holy and undivided Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour and glory, adoration and worship, now and for evermore. Amen.
Discourse 2. – The principal parts and branches of tile pastoral office, with rules and directions for the due performance of each of them.
[This appears to have been delivered in 1708. See Sermon 6.]
In a Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of St. David’s.
Reverend Brethren of the Clergy,
I shall not waste my time and little strength by detaining you with a long and useless preface. In short, my business at this time shall be to set before you the several parts and branches of that holy office and function, which you have undertaken, together with some rules and directions which are necessary to be observed for the due performance of each of them.
The principal parts and branches of the Pastoral office are these five.
First, Reading Divine Service, or the Prayers of the Church.
Fourthly, Administering the holy Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Fifthly and lastly, Visiting of the sick.
First, Reading Divine Service, or the Prayers of the Church. This some may think to be a slight and easy matter, that needs not any advice or directions; but they are very much mistaken. For to the reading of the Prayers aright there is need of great care and caution. The Prayers of the Church must be read audibly, distinctly, and reverently.
1. Audibly, so that if possible, all that are present may hear them and join in them. There are some that mutter the Prayers, as if they were to pray only to themselves, whereby they exclude most of the congregation from the benefit of them.
2. The Prayers of the Church ought to be read distinctly and leisurely; not to be galloped over, as the manner of some is, who read the Prayers so fast that they outrun the attention and devotion of the people, not giving them time to join with them, or to make their responses in their due places. This rule is to be observed in reading the Prayers throughout, but especially in reading the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in the second service. There are some that read the Commandments so thick one upon another, that the people have not time to add that excellent prayer to each of them, “Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.”
To this head, of distinct reading the Prayers, I shall only add this one observation. Whereas upon Sundays and holy days the Church hath appointed a first and second service to be read one after another, it is convenient that there be a decent interval betwixt them. For judge, I pray you, how absurd it may seem to conclude the first service with St. Chrysostom’s prayer, and “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and immediately without any intermission to enter upon the second service.
I verily believe the first intention of the Church was, that these two services should be read at two several times in the morning; but now custom and the Rubric direct us to use them both at the same time. Yet in Cathedral or mother Churches there is still a decent distinction between the two services: for before the Priest goes to the Altar to read the second service, there is a short but excellent anthem sung, in imitation whereof in the churches of London, and in other greater churches of the country, instead of that anthem there is part of a psalm sung.
3. And lastly, the Prayers of the Church are to be read with great reverence and devotion, so as to excite and kindle devotion in the congregation. Thus the Prayers of the Church are to be read, if we would keep up the reputation of them, and render them useful to the people. But, alas! there are too many Ministers, who by disorderly and indecent and irreverent reading of the Liturgy disgrace it, and expose it to contempt. To whom the Church may complain, as one of old in the poet did, of the ill rehearsal of his oration:
Quem recitas meus est, O Fidentine, libellus,
Sed male dum recitas incipit esse tuns.
“The book of prayers which ye read is indeed mine, but at the sad rate you read it, I am ashamed of it, it is none of mine, but yours.”
I am verily persuaded that this is one cause that there are so many sectaries and separatists among us. They find so little reverence and devotion in the use of our common prayers, that they cannot away with them, but run from the Church to the conventicle, where they hope to find more devotion.
II. Another part of the Pastoral office is Preaching, i.e. (as we commonly use the word) taking a text or portion of Scripture, explaining it, raising some useful point of doctrine from it, and applying it to the edification of the hearers. For otherwise the bare reading of the Scriptures is sometimes called preaching; as Acts 15:21: “For Moses” (that is, the writings of Moses) “of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” But here I take the word preaching in the aforementioned sense, as now it is used. This is a noble part of the Pastor’s duty, but difficult; it is not a work that everyone should undertake or can perform: for it requires the knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scriptures, and in order thereunto, some skill in the learned languages and other parts of human learning; it requires a good judgment and discretion, I add elocution too. The time will not give me leave (if 1 were able) to set before you all the rules or precepts of the art of preaching, and to give you an entire system of it. There are many learned men who have written full treatises of this subject; I mention only our excellent Bishop Wilkins, who hath published a treatise, entitled, Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher, which I recommend to the reading of younger Divines and first beginners in the art of preaching: to whom also I give this fluffier advice, that they should not at first trust to their own compositions, but furnish themselves with store of the best Sermons that have been published by the learned Divines of our Church. These they should read often, and study to imitate them, and in time they will attain to an habit of good preaching themselves. Among the printed Sermons, those of the late Archbishop Tillotson are well known and approved by all.
But what shall be done in those poor parishes, where there are as poor Ministers, altogether incapable of performing this duty of preaching in any tolerable manner? I answer, That in such places, Ministers, instead of Sermons of their own, should use the Homilies of the Church, which ought to be in every parish. And they would do well also, now and then to read a chapter or section out of the Whole Duty of Man, which (I presume) is translated into the Welsh tongue. I add, that it would be a piece of charity if the Clergy of the neighbourhood to such places, who are better qualified, would sometimes visit those dark corners, and lend some of their light to them, by bestowing now and then a Sermon on the poor people, suited to their capacities and necessities. They have my leave, yea, and authority so to do; and they may be sure the good God will not fail to reward them.
III. The third work of the Pastor’s office is Catechizing, without which Preaching will not be sufficient. For if people be not well instructed in the necessary principles of religion when they are young, they will hardly attain to any sound knowledge when they are old. For according to the Greek apothegm,
______ _________ ___ _______ _________ ______ ____.
“To instruct an ignorant old man and to raise a dead man are things almost equally difficult.” I shall not insist upon this subject, for the usefulness and necessity of Catechizing is acknowledged by all, though the work itself is by many of the Clergy sadly neglected. Where such neglect is, it is the duty of the Churchwardens to present. I shall make it my business to see this fault amended.
IV. Another, and a main part of the Priest’s office, is the administration of the holy Sacraments, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.
First, for Baptism; the Church strictly requires that it be performed publicly, in the House of God, not in private houses, except in case of real necessity; as when a child is weak, and cannot without endangering itself be brought to church. But notwithstanding this strict order of our Church, in most places in this country, Baptism is altogether administered in private houses, and scarce any (if any) baptized in the church. If this may be allowed, away with the fonts in your churches; what do they signify? to what purpose are they there? If all the authority I am invested with can do it, I will see this lamentable abuse of the sacrament of Baptism reformed.
But farther observe, that as our Church strictly requires that Baptism be administered in public, so it advises that it be performed (if conveniently it may be) on the Lord’s Day, in a full congregation of Christian people. Hear the words of the Rubric.
“The people are to be admonished that it is most convenient that Baptism should not be administered but upon Sundays and other holydays, when the most number of people come together; as well for that the congregation there present may testify the receiving of them that be newly baptized into the number of Christ’s Church, as also because in the Baptism of infants every man present may be put in remembrance of his own profession made to God in Baptism.”
I take leave to add, that it is most for the interest of the infant to be so baptized, that it may have the benefit of the united prayers of a full Christian congregation, which is much to be valued. Methinks there should be no need of urging this to parents, that have any real love or affliction to their children: this would incline them to desire that themselves, which the Church desires of them. Remember, I beseech you, that your children are to be but once baptized; and what is but once done, ought to be well done, in the best and most perfect manner.
To come to the other Sacrament, the Eucharist, or Holy Supper; this is the most sacred and mysterious rite, the apex, the top and perfection of Christian worship, as the ancients term it, and therefore it ought to be performed with the greatest reverence and solemnity in every punctilio of it, according to the direction of our Church in her Rubric to the Communion Office. But this you are especially to take care of, that you administer not the Holy Sacrament to persons known to be vicious and scandalous. Hear the Rubric of the Church to this purpose;
“So many as intend to be partakers of the Holy Communion, shall signify their names to the Curate at least some time the day before. – And if any of those be an open and notorious evil liver, or have done any wrong to his neighbours, by word or deed, so that the congregation be thereby offended; the Curate having knowledge thereof shall call him, and advertise him, that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord’s Table, until be hath openly declared himself to have truly repented and amended his former naughty life, that the congregation may thereby be satisfied which before were offended, and that he hath recompensed the parties to whom he hath done wrong, or at least to declare himself to be in full purpose so to do, as soon as he conveniently may.”
I am not ignorant, that there are some who plead for a free admission to the Lord’s Table of all that are members of the visible Church, and not yet excommunicated; and exclaim against the exclusion of men from the Holy Communion, as a device and usurpation of the Presbyterians and other sectaries: but these men are grossly mistaken, for you see it is the express order of our Church. I add, that the same order was observed in the Primitive and Apostolical Churches. For Justin Martyr, who flourished within forty years after the Apostolic age, (i.e. after the death of St. John the Apostle,) in his second Apology [[i.e. the first Apology, (§. 66.) according to the later editions.]] tells us, that in his time none were admitted to the Holy Eucharist, but those who lived according to the law of Christ. It is a received distinction among Divines, that there is a twofold excommunication, excommunicatio major et minor, “the greater and the lesser excommunication.” The greater excommunication is an exclusion of a man from the Communion of the Church, and the public Ordinances universally. The lesser excommunication is indeed in order to prevent the greater, and to bring men under the discipline and correction of the Church for the amendment of their lives, that so at length they may be fit to be admitted to the Holy Communion.
So our Church informs us in her Rubric to the Communion Office, where the Minister, repelling any from the Communion, is required “to give an account thereof to the Ordinary within fourteen days after at the farthest; and the Ordinary shall proceed against the offending person according to the Canon.” So much for the administration of the holy sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
V. I come to the fifth and last part of the Pastoral office, viz. Visiting the Sick. For this we have an express command in the Holy Scriptures [James 5:14.]; “Is any sick among you? let him call for the Elders of the Church”; i.e. the Presbyters of the Church; as supposing they may not otherwise have notice of his sickness. Sick men too commonly neglect this duty; oftentimes out of fear, proceeding from an evil conscience. They look upon the Minister’s coming to their sickbed, as a kind of a messenger of death, for which they are not so well prepared. But if the sick man does not send for his Minister, the Minister (having other notice of his sickness) ought to go to him without being sent for.
How to perform this duty towards sick men aright, our Church fully directs him in her excellent Office of the Visitation of the Sick, which is so full and perfect, that there needs nothing to be added to it.
But observe farther, that it is the Pastor’s duty to visit his parishioners, not only when they are sick, but also when they are well and in good health; not only with common neighbourly visits, but visiting them to the purposes of salvation. He should sometimes go home to their houses, and minister to their souls in private; mildly reproving them for what faults he observes in them, admonishing them of such duties as he knows them to be ignorant of; as not coming constantly to Church, not frequenting the Communion, and the like. He is there seriously to call upon them, to mind them of the great concern of their immortal souls in time to prepare for sickness and death, and the tremendous judgment that follows. Such particular private applications of the Minister to his parishioners, are highly useful, and will render the public Ordinances more beneficial to them.
To you, my brethren of the Clergy, I shall conclude all I have to say, in a short but serious and affectionate exhortation.
1. In the first place, and above all things, follow after holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord.” Holiness is a qualification indispensably required in every Christian, and that sub periculo animae, “as he hopes to be saved,” and to see the face of God in heaven. And can it be imagined that a Minister of God should be saved without it? Nay, he is obliged to holiness in a double capacity, both as a Christian and as a Minister. As a Minister, his calling obliges him to be almost perpetually conversant about holy things; which he profanes, if he be not himself an holy person. He profanes God’s holy Worship, His holy Word, and His holy Sacraments; and God will most certainly and severely punish such profaners of His sacred things.
Nay, a Minister of God is obliged to an exemplary holiness. Epiphanius tells us that the duty of the laity is __ _________ ___ __ __________, “a more moderate measure of piety,” suited to their capacity, and tempered with a greater indulgence and mercy. But from the Clergy is expected _ Ļ___ Ļ_____ ___________, “a more exact and accurate course of life in all things.” And St. Paul speaks to the same purpose, when he charges Titus to spew himself “in all things an example” or pattern “of good works.” [Titus 2:7.] For every pattern must be excellent and extraordinary, and such as is worthy of imitation. This the people will expect from us, that we should go before them, and lead them on to virtue and piety by our example. And however they fail in other civilities, they will be sure generally to observe this piece of good manners, they will readily give us the precedence in the way to heaven, and be content to follow us at a very humble distance. So that our conversation must be somewhat extraordinary, if we expect by our example to bring them up to the ordinary and necessary measures of piety, and we shall hardly be able to do well, unless we ourselves do somewhat excellently.
2. Be diligent, very diligent, in the business of your calling; for it is a laborious calling, that will not admit of ease and idleness. I speak especially to the younger Clergy; ply your studies, give yourselves to reading, chiefly the Holy Scriptures, and the writings of learned men that have explained them to you.
The exhortations of St. Paul to Timothy are full to this purpose: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” [1 Tim. 4:13, 15.] Consider, I beseech you, what kind of person he was whom St. Paul thus exhorts: he was one, who from a child knew the Holy Scriptures; one that had the gift of prophecy, and was endued with extraordinary and even miraculous gifts. This man St. Paul earnestly calls upon to be diligent in reading and study; what need then have we, even the best of us, of this diligence, who are so very far short of his accomplishments! In a word, an idle person in any calling whatsoever is very contemptible; but an idle and lazy Parochial Priest, is of all mortals the most contemptible and inexcusable. What! so much business, and that of so great importance as the salvation of men’s souls, and yet idle? For the Lord’s sake shake off sloth, rouse up and bestir yourselves in the business of your calling, remembering that the souls of your people, and your own souls, are at stake.
3. And lastly, Be much and often in prayer to God, especially in private prayer. Content not yourselves with reading prayers at Church, but take care also that there be daily prayers in your families, at least morning and evening; and some time every day retire to your studies, and there, upon your bended knees, earnestly beseech Almighty God to have mercy on you, to direct and assist you in your studies, and to give you good success in your labours. Pray for the souls of the people committed to your charge; pray for your own souls, that “while you preach to others, you yourselves may not be castaways.”
If you do these things, if you adorn your holy profession with an holy conversation, if you be diligent in the business of your calling, if you pray daily to God for His help and assistance, He will not fail to be with you, and to carry you through all difficulties with honour and success; and in the end your reward will be great and glorious, and an abundant compensation of all your labours. So St. Peter tells you in that excellent text, [1 Peter 5:2–4.] with which I shall conclude; “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
And now a word or two to you my brethren of the laity.
First, Give honour and respect to your Pastors for the Lord’s sake, whatever their personal defects may be (which you are to overlook, and not, like cursed Chain, delight to pry into the nakedness of your fathers); their character and office calls for this from you. The contempt of the Clergy at last redounds to the contempt of all religion. So our Saviour tells you, speaking of His Apostles, and in them of their successors, “He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.”
Secondly, Be strictly just in paying them their dues: that little they have, let them have in quiet. Do not put them to vexatious lawsuits, to the disturbance of their studies, and thereby to your own loss. You will take it ill to be called thieves, and yet such you are; yea, guilty of the worst of thefts, sacrilege. For by denying Ministers their dues you rob God, as God Himself tells you [Mal. 3:8.]; “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings,” etc. If any poor Minister be oppressed and injured in this kind, I will be a patron to him, stand by and defend him.
In the last place, one word to you that are Churchwardens. Remember you are upon your oaths; do not therefore for fear or favour of men perjure yourselves, i.e. damn your own souls. The office of a Churchwarden, to which he is sworn, is not so difficult as some men make it; an honest man may easily discharge it; for it is only to be honest, and present matters according to the best of his skill and knowledge.
Discourse 3. – Concerning the Spirit of God in the faithful; how and in what manner it doth bear witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God; and what degree of hope or persuasion concerning their adoption this witness of the Spirit doth ordinarily produce in the faithful.
St. Peter hath long ago observed, that in the Epistles of his brother Apostle St. Paul, there are some ________, “things hard to be understood”; which the ignorant and unlearned did in his time (as indeed there are some such that still do so in our time) “wrest to their own destruction.” [2 Peter 3:16.] And he seems in that place, if it be heedfully considered, to have a special respect to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which indeed hath more of those ________, or difficult passages, than any other of his Epistles. Such is his discourse of justification by faith without works, which runs throughout the Epistle, which was abused even in the Apostolic age to a dangerous kind of solifidianism by the Gnostic heretics; against whose perverse interpretation St. James afterwards wrote his Epistle as an antidote.
And indeed St. Paul himself expounds himself in another Epistle very plainly to the same purpose [Viz. Gal. 5:6.]; “In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” From whence it is evident that by the faith to which he attributes justification, he means not an idle faith, but a working faith, attended with works of love both toward God and our neighbour; and, consequently, that the works he excludes from justification art, not evangelical works, or such as are done in and proceed from faith in Christ; but only, first, works of perfect obedience, or sinless works, there being none such to be found among the sons of fallen man: or, secondly, works done in the strength of the Mosaic Law, without the grace of the Gospel: or, thirdly, the works of the ceremonial Law, such as circumcision, sacrifice, and the like: or, fourthly and lastly, all manner of works whatsoever, as far as they are relied on as meritorious causes of our justification or salvation: there being but one only cause of that kind, viz. the meritorious obedience and sufferings of our dear Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Of this sort also are the discourses of St. Paul concerning the conflict between the law of the mind, and the law of sin in the members, in the same men, [Chapter 7.] and concerning the irrespective love and hatred of Jacob and Esau, and of the obduration or hardening of Pharaoh, [Chapter 9.] and of the bondage and redemption of the whole creation. [Chapter 8:19–22.] And such also is that passage, upon which I shall found my present discourse concerning the witness of the Spirit in the faithful [Chapter 8:16.]; “The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” A passage almost in every man’s mouth, but rightly understood by very few, yea, by too many dangerously mistaken and abused.
In handling whereof I shall endeavour, with all the plainness and clearness I can, to pursue and resolve these two enquiries.
First, How and in what manner the Spirit of God in the faithful doth bear witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God.
Secondly, What degree of hope or persuasion concerning their adoption this witness of the Spirit doth ordinarily produce in the faithful.
1. First then I am to enquire, How and in what manner the Spirit of God in the faithful doth bear witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God.
I answer, first, negatively; not by an immediate oracle, voice, or whisper within them, in express words pronouncing their pardon and acceptation with God, or saying that they are the sons of God, after the manner our Saviour told the man sick of the palsy, “ Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” [Matt. 9:2.]: or, as Nathan the Prophet said to David, “The Lord hath put away thy sin.” [2 Sam. 12:13.] This is a vain imagination, and as dangerous as it is vain, it being apt to lead some good men into despair, as not finding any such whisper within them; and to expose others to presumption and the delusion of the evil spirit. Such a vocal testimony of the Spirit is nowhere promised in Scripture, and therefore not to be expected by us; though it is possible God may to some persons, and in some extraordinary cases, give it. But that St. Paul means not any such vocal testimony of the Spirit is evident from hence, that this vocal testimony would be the immediate testimony of the Spirit alone, whereas the Apostle speaks of a testimony of the Spirit concurring and adjoining with the testimony of our spirits, i.e. our minds or consciences; ____________ our minds and consciences therefore have a part and share in giving this testimony; i.e. our consciences give this testimony by and with the Spirit within us. In what manner, I am to shew in the affirmative, to which I proceed.
2. Therefore affirmatively, the Spirit witnesseth that we are the sons of God. (1.) By those gracious fruits and effects which it hath wrought in us, which, when we discern and perceive, we do or may from thence conclude that we are the sons of God, those fruits and effects being the sure badge and livery of His children. (2.) By enlightening our understandings, and assisting the faculties of our souls, as need requires, to discern those gracious fruits and effects which He hath wrought in us.
(1.) The first way whereby the Spirit of God witnesseth that we are the sons of God, is by the gracious fruits and effects which the Spirit hath wrought in us. The Spirit of God in Person is not the immediate suggester of this conclusion, that we are the sons of God; but the Spirit in the fruits and effects of it is the medium or argument from whence we ourselves draw it. St. Paul tells us in the very same chapter, [Rom. 8:9.] “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Now how shall we know that we have the Spirit, but by the fruits of it in ourselves? And what are the fruits of the Spirit? St. Paul describes them, [Gal. 5:22–23.] “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” Where, when among the fruits of the Spirit the Apostle reckons ____, “ joy,” the best interpreters understand him to mean, not that joy or peace of conscience, which is the result and reward of duty, but a joy which is itself a duty, and a duty respecting our neighbour; for of that nature are all the rest of the graces there mentioned by St. Paul. For it is immediately subjoined to love, and after it are added several other virtues, which all have reference to our neighbour; and therefore it is altogether improbable that this joy, being placed in the midst of those virtues, should respect any other than our neighbour. And then by “joy,” we must understand either that joy which a man takes in the good things of his neighbour, or that virtue whereby a man studies to create and cause joy to his neighbour, or to gratify and please him in all his actions, for his good and edification. But this by the way. When therefore I find these fruits of the Spirit within me, “love, joy, peace,” etc. I may conclude, that I am the son of God, and accepted by Him; and this comfortable conclusion, though it be made by myself, yet is due to the Spirit of God, from Whom all those gracious arguments of my comfort proceed; and therefore it may well be said to be attested or witnessed by the Spirit of God, in concurrence with my spirit, mind, or conscience.
Thus St. John most plainly expounds St. Paul, [1 John 4:13.] “Hereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” So that the Spirit doth not immediately tell us this, but we come to understand it by perceiving that we have the Spirit, i.e. the fruits of the Spirit in us.
Hence the Spirit of God in Scripture is called _______, God’s “ earnest,” [2 Cor. 1:22.] “Who (that is, God) hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Now an earnest is pars pretii pro toto spondens, “part of a sum, given in assurance of receiving the whole afterwards.” So the Spirit of God within us is given us by way of earnest, to assure us that in due time we shall receive from God all those other good things, and that full glory and bliss, which He hath promised us; always provided we keep our earnest, and do not throw it back to the Giver, or by resisting the motions of the Spirit, provoke Him to take it again from us. The fruits of the Spirit are also called _______, God’s “seal,” in the same place, and likewise Ephesians 1:13, where the Ephesians are said to be “ sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” In which words St. Paul alludes to the custom of men, who use to set their seals upon those things which they would mark for their own. And thus the fruits of the Spirit are said to be God’s seal, because by them we know ourselves to belong to God, and to be in His favour. When therefore we find that we love God above all things, and value His favour more than all the world, and that our greatest care is how we may glorify God and serve Him in this life; that we love our neighbour sincerely, and are ready to do him all the good that lies in our power; that we bear no malice to any man, yea, and can forgive our very enemies; that we are strictly just in all our dealings, and are ready to relieve the distressed according to our abilities; that we study mortification, and to deny our fleshly lusts, and make conscience of everything we know to be sin; that we delight in religious exercises, especially in prayer; that we have something within us continually crying, Abba, Father, and inclining us in all our wants, necessities, and distresses, to have recourse to our God by humble supplication, and to depend and trust on Him for help and relief; and finally, that we can bear afflictions with submission to God’s will: by these things, as by the fruits of the Spirit, we know that we have the Spirit, and consequently, that we are the sons of God, and heirs of salvation.
Indeed the Christian’s comfort is everywhere in Scripture founded on those graces and good things which the Spirit of God hath wrought within him. Thus St. Paul most plainly tells us upon what foundation he built the peace, joy, and comfort of his mind [2 Cor. 1:12. ]; “Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, we have had our conversation in the world.” The joy and peace of his mind arose from that testimony, which his conscience gave him of his integrity and sincerity. Thus the Spirit of God in the fruits and effects of it did witness with his spirit, that he was a good man, and accepted in the sight of God, i.e. a son of God. And the same method of consolation he prescribes to others, [Gal. 6:4.] “Let every man prove his own work, and then he shall have rejoicing in himself.” We can have no true and solid joy but what arises from within ourselves, and proceeds from a thorough proof, trial, and examination of our hearts, and finding things right and well there. This matter of comfort, though it be within ourselves, yet is it not of or from ourselves, but is the fruit of the Spirit, an effect of the grace of God; and so the glory of all at last redounds to Him. But still from within ourselves we must fetch our comfort.
They are therefore false apostles and teachers, and betrayers of the souls for whom Christ died, who teach for sound, yea, the only Gospel doctrine, that we are not to seek our consolation from within ourselves, i.e. that we are not to fetch our comfort from the graces within us, or the duties performed by us; that this is to dishonour free grace, and to set up our own graces and duties in the room of Christ’s righteousness. But as you love your souls, avoid and take heed of these men, and of this doctrine, for it leads to perdition, and hath been, I doubt not, one main cause that hath contributed to the ruin of multitudes of men.
It is true indeed, we are not to build our comfort and hope of salvation upon our graces and duties, as meritorious of salvation. For the only meritorious cause thereof is the obedience, sufferings, and death of our dear Redeemer, and only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Nor are we to take comfort from our graces and duties, as purely our own, i.e. as wrought in us, or done by us, merely by our own strength; for we have no strength of our own in spiritual things; but it is God that works in us both to will and to do. Indeed this would be to glory in ourselves, and not in the Lord; to rob God and His grace of their due honour; to fetch our comfort, not from the grace or Spirit of God, but from corrupt nature and the powers of it, which whoso doth, let him be “anathema”. But to derive our comfort from the graces within us, as the fruits of God’s Spirit, freely given us in Christ Jesus, to cherish our hopes by those duties, as conditions without which our Lord Christ hath declared He will never save us, this is not only lawful, but our duty; this we not only may, but must do; and if we seek for solid comfort and peace of conscience in any other way we shall never find it.
And thus I have explained to you the first way whereby the Spirit of God doth witness with our spirits, that we are the sons of God, or in a state of salvation, viz. by those blessed graces and fruits which He works in us.
(2.) The second way by which the Spirit of God witnesseth with our spirits, that we are the sons of God, is by enlightening our understandings and strengthening the powers of our minds, as occasion requires, to discern those gracious fruits and effects which He hath wrought in us. It would be but little comfort to us, that the characters of God’s Spirit are written upon our minds, if we ourselves do not arrive to the knowledge of them. Now this is the case of many Christians of great piety, but of weak understandings; they have the fruits of the Spirit flourishing in them, but take no satisfaction from thence, because they do not perceive and discern them. When therefore it is of use and expediency to them, that they should have a better knowledge of themselves, the Spirit of God is pleased to shine upon their understandings, and raise and strengthen the faculties of their souls to an apprehension and lively sense of those graces which He hath wrought in them, that they may receive comfort and satisfaction from them. How and after what manner He doth this, I dare not undertake to tell; but though the manner of it cannot be explained, yet the thing itself is certain, and ought not to be denied.
That Spirit of God, which in the first beginning of things moved upon the face of the great deep, and invigorated the chaos, or dark and confused heap of things, and caused light to shine out of that darkness, can with the greatest ease, when He pleases, cause the light of divine consolation to arise, and shine upon the dark and disconsolate soul. And this He often doth. I may here appeal to the experience of many good Christians, who sometimes find a sudden joy coming into their minds, enlightening their understandings, dispelling all clouds from thence, warming and enlivening their affections, and enabling them to discern the graces of God shining in their brightness, and to feel them vigorously acting in their souls; so that they have been after a sort transfigured with their Saviour, and wished with St. Peter that they might always dwell on that Mount Tabor.
And indeed we ought, in these happy intervals, when our understandings are thus irradiated and enlightened, to make a judgment of the state and condition of our souls in the sight of God, and not to take our estimate of it when our understandings are eclipsed, and we are overshadowed with a dark cloud of sadness and melancholy.
Thus I have largely shewn the way and manner how the Spirit of God doth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God; viz. 1. By the fruits of the Spirit, or those graces which He works in us. 2. By enlightening our understandings and strengthening the faculties of our minds, if need be, to see and discern those graces, and thence to make a right conclusion concerning our hopes of salvation. Though this latter operation of the Spirit I do not think to be meant by St. Paul, in the passage I have grounded this discourse upon, at least not principally. For he seems to speak of a standing permanent witness of the Spirit, that is always in all the faithful; and that can be no other than the habitual grace of God within them. Whereas that operation of the Spirit, in irradiating our minds to discern the things of God within us, is a transient occasional act, not always to be found in the faithful, but only in their extraordinary exigencies and necessities.
In this way of explanation, and in no other, it is easy to understand the concurrence of God’s Spirit and our spirit in this witness or testimony, that we are the sons of God, and so heirs of salvation, and what part each of them hath therein. The Spirit of God hath the main and principal part; for it is that Spirit which produces those graces in us, which are the evidence of our adoption: it is He that, as occasion requires, illuminates our understandings, and assists our memories, in discerning and recollecting those arguments of hope and comfort within ourselves. But then our spirits or understandings have their share in this testimony too. For God’s Spirit ___________, doth witness, not without, but with our spirits and understandings, so that our spirits concur and cooperate, and act their part in this matter too. How? We make use of our reason and understanding in considering and reflecting upon those grounds of comfort which the Spirit of God hath wrought in us, and from them draw this comfortable conclusion to ourselves, that “we are the sons of God.” This witness or testimony is given, not by a direct immediate suggestion, either of God’s Spirit or our own, but in a rational and argumentative way. For it being certain from Scripture, that whosoever hath the fruits of the Spirit, or those graces which none but the Spirit of God can work, is in the favour of God; a good Christian, by considering and reflecting on himself, finds that he hath those fruits of the Spirit, and from thence he draws this certain conclusion, that he is in the favour of God.
Thus the witness of the Spirit appears to be not an unaccountable enthusiasm, as some have made it, but a sober rational testimony. The right understanding of this is of great use to settle the minds of many good but weak Christians, who are infinitely perplexed in their thoughts about the witness of the Spirit within them. They sadly complain of their want of it, when indeed they have it, because they do not rightly understand what it is. They expect some secret impulse or suggestion of the Divine Spirit telling them directly that they are “the children of God,” and missing of this (which indeed God hath nowhere, that I know of, promised), they are in a disconsolate afflicted condition. They look for comfort only and immediately from the Spirit of God, while their own spirits are wholly inactive and idle; i.e. they do not make use of their reason and understanding, in gathering comfort to themselves, from those grounds of comfort which the Spirit of God hath wrought in them.
We may very fitly apply the words of St. Paul, borrowed from Moses concerning the righteousness of faith, to the assurance of faith [Rom. 10:6–8.]; “The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring down Christ from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” So here do not seek after an oracle or immediate revelation, or expect that a voice from heaven should assure thee, that thou who art a true believer, and a sincere penitent, art in a state of grace and favour with God; for the resolution of the case is nigh unto thee, and even within thee, and to be sought after no farther than in thine own heart and conscience. If thou perceivest that thou dost believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all thine heart, with a faith working by love, love to God, and love to thy neighbour, thou mayest as certainly conclude thou art in a state of salvation, as if a voice from heaven had told thee so.
And so much of the first thing propounded, The manner how the Spirit of God doth bear witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God.
II. I am next to shew you what degree of hope or persuasion concerning their adoption, the witness of the Spirit doth ordinarily produce in the hearts of the faithful. And here again to this enquiry I answer both negatively and affirmatively.
1. Negatively. The witness of the Spirit doth not ordinarily produce in the faithful that highest degree of persuasion, which amounts to a plerophory or absolute and fall assurance of his salvation, excluding all doubt thereof. A full assurance of salvation is that which very few of the best of Christians can boast of. Indeed this seems not expedient in any man but him that is near the end of his race, that having fought a good fight perseveringly against the world, the devil, and the flesh, is now ready to go off the stage, and to take his crown of glory, the reward of his laborious combat; which seems to be the case of St. Paul [2 Tim. 4:6–8.]; “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.”
It is the opinion of very learned interpreters, that St. Paul was warned by an oracle or revelation from heaven of his near approaching martyrdom, after the manner that St. Peter was [2 Peter 1:14.]; “Knowing that I must shortly put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” St. Paul being thus “ready to be offered,” i.e. to suffer martyrdom for Christ’s sake, and having, through the whole course of his past life, had experience of the grace of God carrying him through a multitude, an infinite variety of sufferings, with honour and victory, was assured that he should not fail in this last act, but that the same grace would complete his former victories with a crown of martyrdom. This assurance was necessary in him at this time to support him in his last trial, and there was now no danger that he should abuse it. But before this, when the blessed Apostle was farther off from the end of his race and combat, he speaks in a more doubtful manner [1 Cor. 9:27.]; “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” i.e. a reprobate. St. Paul cannot be supposed at that time, when he wrote this, to be absolutely certain of his salvation. Indeed such an assurance, as I said before, seems no way expedient for any man who is yet in the midst of his combat with the adversaries of his soul, the devil, the world, and the flesh; because it would be apt to betray him to security. The case in this particular is much the same, between the life of our bodies and the salvation of our souls. If Divine Providence should give any man an absolute assurance of a very long life, he would be apt to neglect the means of his health, and to take no care for the preserving of his life: so if God should give a man beforehand assurance of his perseverance to the end, and so of his salvation, it would probably make him careless and negligent in the use of the means appointed for his perseverance, i.e. watching and praying.
2. I answer affirmatively. And the affirmative I will lay down in these following propositions.
(1.) The witness of the Spirit of God doth ordinarily produce in the faithful such a degree of hope and persuasion of their adoption, as shall render their lives in some measure comfortable, and free from tormenting fears and anxieties, and such as shall be sufficient to encourage them in the discharge of that duty which God requires of them.
(2.) The degrees of this comfortable hope and persuasion in the faithful are ordinarily proportioned to the degrees of their other graces.
The graces of the Spirit within us, as I have already shewn, are the evidences of our titles to heaven: and therefore the greater and stronger our habitual grace is, the greater and stronger evidence we have of our title to glory.
This grace is the great “witness of the Spirit” within us, testifying that we are “the children of God,” and so “heirs of salvation”; and consequently the greater this grace is, the greater and clearer witness we have of our adoption. And, on the contrary, the witness and evidence of our adoption must needs be darker and more obscure, as this grace is weaker and more imperfect in us. And therefore as the characters of the Holy Spirit in our souls are more or less apparent and legible, so will our hope and comfort be greater or lesser.
Indeed sometimes he that hath a lesser degree of grace, may have a greater measure of comfort; because perhaps in the circumstances wherein he is, he needs it; as being under some heavy pressing outward affliction, which, were he not supported by a greater measure of inward comfort, would be apt to sink and crush him. Or perhaps he is a man of a stronger and clearer understanding, or an happier temper and constitution of body, and so better qualified to take comfort from those grounds of comfort that are within him, than another who yet hath arrived to a greater perfection in grace and virtue than himself. But regularly, ordinarily, et caeteris paribus, the more grace the more comfort. The more strictly we walk with God in the ways of holiness, the greater will be the peace and satisfaction of our minds. And accordingly we may observe in Scripture a very close connection between hope and holiness. Thus the Holy Ghost, describing the exemplary piety of the primitive Christians, tells us, that they “walked in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 9:31.] A seemingly incongruous couple, fear and joy, fear and hope, or comfort. But indeed these two are so far from being inconsistent, that they can hardly be separated. The more a man fears to offend God, and the greater his care is to please Him, the greater his hope and comfort will be. The more we fear, the less reason we have to fear; i.e. if we fear God, we need not fear anything else. In this fear we are safe and secure, and all the powers of hell cannot hurt us.
(3.) The Spirit of God doth always administer some degree of hope to all the faithful, so much as is sufficient to keep them from despair.
Some degree of hope is absolutely necessary to preserve the very life and being of our other graces. It is in this sense also the Christian’s true motto, Dum spiro, spero; “He hopes as long as he lives and breathes.” And if ever his hope should utterly fail him, his spiritual life would expire and cease, and all his other graces would languish and die with it. And therefore the Spirit of God never fails to give some degree of hope to all the faithful.
Indeed, it is possible for the hope of a good Christian to be at so very low an ebb, that he may think himself to be in despair, but indeed he is not so; there is some degree of hope still left in him, which, though he himself cannot discern, yet another that is a diligent observer may perceive, in his earnest desire of God’s grace and mercy, in the conscience that he still makes of committing any sin that he knows to be such, and his endeavour to do that which he thinks to be his duty to the best of his power, and in his requesting the prayers of good people to God for him. For to what purpose doth he these things, if he were indeed fully resolved in himself that his case is desperate, if he had not some degree of hope yet remaining in him?
Thus some have been known, in a melancholy fit, to think they have lost all faith, and seriously to accuse themselves of downright infidelity, and an utter disbelief of the Articles of the Christian religion, and thereupon have been plunged into horrible fears, perplexities, and agonies of mind; whereas these very fears are a plain demonstration that they are not guilty of that infidelity, the supposal whereof is the cause of their fears. For if they had no belief at all of the matters of religion, they could not be so much troubled for their unbelief. For how can a man possibly be troubled for not believing that, which he is fully resolved and really persuaded in his own mind is false, and so ought not to be believed?
In like manner some men think themselves void of all hope, and that they are guilty of utter despair, when their own actions at the same time plainly declare the contrary. But yet to be thus next door to despair is a very sad condition, though it may be safe. And, God be thanked, the instances of good men in this pitiable estate are comparatively very rare. And where they are found, it commonly appears that much of their misery is to be attributed to an excess of melancholy in their natural temper and constitution; and much to the false notions of religion which they have imbibed and sucked in from those unlicensed, unlearned, ignorant, or corrupt teachers, which perhaps, through their own wantonness and folly, they made choice of. But still the hand of God is to be acknowledged in the case, permitting them at least by such means to fall into the heaviest of afflictions and calamities in this world, for reasons best known unto Himself, always wise, just, and righteous, and, as it will appear in the issue, good and gracious too.
Objection. But here it may be objected, How is the case of these disconsolate Christians consistent or reconcilable with this truth, “That the Spirit of God beareth witness with the spirit of the faithful,” etc. For whereas St. Paul, manifestly speaking of all true Christians, all that have the Spirit of God in general, with, that “the Spirit doth bear witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God;” these afflicted persons, whom we suppose to be true Christians, are so far from having any such thing witnessed to them, as that they are the children of God, that on the contrary they are under dreadful apprehensions of their being reprobates and castaways.
Answer. I answer, That this passage is, as many other places of Scripture of the like nature are, to be understood, not so much of the certainty or necessity of the effect itself spoken of, as of the nature of the thing, to which that effect is attributed, and its sufficiency to produce it, if not hindered by some obstacle intervening. Thus, for instance, the Gospel of Christ is everywhere in Scripture described as a Gospel of peace, and which should cause an universal peace in the world; because, though through the corruption of men, it too generally fails of that blessed effect, yet in its own nature it is apt and fitted to produce it, and would do so, if its most strict precepts of peace and love, and most powerful motives and arguments to enforce that excellent virtue, were duly regarded and attended to. So here the Spirit, i.e. the fruits and graces of the Spirit within us, are said to testify and witness to and with “our spirits, that we are the children of God”; because in themselves wherever they are, they are a sufficient evidence of our adoption; and if by this Spirit we are not actually assured of it, it is because our own spirits are not rightly fitted and disposed to receive that evidence. So that all true Christians, even those disconsolate ones, have in themselves “the witness of the Spirit,” which St. Paul speaks of, i.e. they have that habitual grace, which is a certain argument or testimony of their being “the children of God”; but they do not at present discern it, through the weakness and indisposition of their minds, and too often of their bodies also; which indisposition the good and gracious God will some time or other, sooner or later, remove: and the same Divine Spirit, which implanted that grace in them, will in due time illuminate their understandings, to perceive and see that blessed work of God within themselves.
And now to conclude this discourse: the best advice that can be given upon the whole matter is this; Let us carefully mind our duty which the word of God hath laid before us, and then leave our comfort to our good and gracious God, who will certainly dispense it in such measure as He sees best and fittest for us. There is many a one who might have been in a much more comfortable state of mind than he is, if he had minded his comfort less and his duty more; if he had studied more the pleasing of God, than the pleasure, peace, and satisfaction of his own mind; if he had laboured more to be a true obedient child of God, than to know that he is so. Do not therefore, as the manner of some is, lie down whining and crying for comfort and assurance, in the mean while neglecting thy duty; but rise up in the name and strength of God, and set thyself in good earnest to thy duty; honestly study to know and do the will of God; take heed of defiling thy conscience with any willful sin; call upon God for His grace by constant and daily prayer; and in this way of well-doing commit thy soul to the goodness and mercy of God in Christ Jesus; and whilst thou dost so, be assured thou art safe, and canst never miscarry. For it is as certain that God is good and gracious, as that He is, and that therefore He will never cast off those who thus cast themselves upon Him. Remember that ordinarily an abundant comfort is the reward of a fruitful piety, and therefore endeavour to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 3:18.]
In a word, persist and persevere in thy duty, and thou canst not fail of that comfort which is convenient for thee; and to be sure, what is wanting in thy joy and comfort here, shall with infinite advantage be made up hereafter, in that “fullness of joy, and those pleasures which are at God’s right hand for evermore.”
Discourse 4. – The consubstantiality and coeternity of the Son of God with God the Father, asserted; or, some few animadversions on a treatise of Mr. Gilbert Clerke, entitled, Ante-Nicenismus; so far as the said author pretends to answer Dr. G. Bull’s Defence of the Nicene Faith, etc.
Animadversions on the Preface.
The author in his Preface gives a summary, but clear, account of his opinion, and in a much better method than he has observed in the Treatise itself; where, having in the first place taken notice, “that the Trinitarians of all kinds, and of whatsoever Church, whether Protestants, or Papists, assert with great confidence, and would be thought firmly to believe, that they have all the Fathers, from the times of the Apostles and downwards, on their side, in the article of the Trinity”; hereupon subjoins, “That the Unitarians, who hold with Socinus, are the only persons that have ingenuity enough openly to profess, that the ancient writers do not wholly concur with them, and do therefore fly to the Holy Scriptures as their only refuge. And yet they justly value themselves upon it, that the Doctors of the three first centuries held the Father alone, and none else, to be that Supreme God, above Whom there is hone other God, and so were of the same opinion with themselves.”
Whereto I answer, that those early Doctors of the Church, as I have often noted in my former writings, did by way of distinction commonly call God the Father, as He is the Father, and the Head and Fountain of the Divinity, the “Supreme,” or “Most High” God, and even the “One” God. But I have also observed, at the same time, that these same Fathers nevertheless did constantly acknowledge the true and undoubted Divinity of the Son of God, as has been fully declared in the fourth section of my Defence of the Nicene Faith, concerning the Son’s Subordination to the Father, as to His Source and Original. [Chapters i. ii.] Where I have shewn at large, that not only the ante-Nicene Fathers, but all their successors likewise, and the very schoolmen confessed that subordination. And in the Nicene Creed itself, composed against the Arians, this same subordination is freely enough declared. For so that Confession begins, “We believe in one God the Father Almighty,” etc. Yet it presently follows, “and in one Jesus Christ, born of the Father, the only-begotten, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,” etc. So that the author of Ante-Nicenismus betrays his own either ignorance or impudence, when [P. 78.] he writes thus; “I find that Dr. Bull in his fourth section, De Subordinatione, has given me up a great part of the question.” For I have given up nothing in the fourth section, but what all Catholics have always granted; nothing that may be of any advantage to the cause either of the Socinians or of the Arians. The first position of that section, on which those that follow have their dependence, is this, “That decree of this Council of Nice, wherein it is determined that the Son of God is God of God, has had the consent and approbation of the Catholic Doctors who have written, both before, and after that Council. For they have all taught with one mouth, that the Divine nature and perfections belong to the Father and the Son, not collaterally, or by way of coordination, but subordinately; as much as to say, the Son has one and the same Divine nature with the Father, but communicated by the Father; namely, so as that the Father alone bas that Divine nature of Himself, or from none else, but the Son has it from the Father; whence the Father is the Fountain, Source, and Original of the Divinity that is in the Son.” Let Mr. Clerke and his party once confess, that the Son has the same Divine nature in common with the Father, and we Catholics will have no farther controversy with them.
Immediately after, in his Preface, he adds, “Moreover they have learned from Eusebius, [Lib. v. c. 28.] and others, That a great number, if not the majority, of the Bishops in the two first centuries, had taught that Christ as to His Essence was but man; and throughout those ages the simple truth might be safely discovered to a people that were inquisitive after it, without the charge of that horrible guilt of blasphemies, which later writers, out of a wicked zeal, not to say cunning craftiness, have thundered against them without blushing. But that most foolish pretense of the Artemonites, I have largely confuted and exploded, in my late disputation against Daniel Zuicker, etc. whereto I refer the reader.
And again, in the same Preface, he has had the confidence to write, “That any Son of God was begotten before all ages, not to say from all eternity, is what all [the Unitarians] do with one accord deny, they do also with one accord profess continually to dispute against those primitive Divines, even before the Council of Nice, who have taken up their notions concerning the Son of God, not from the Scriptures, but from their own imaginations, and the school of Plato, and have obtruded it, thus unhappily taken up, as matter of faith to the people; forasmuch as the Church being adorned and furnished with philosophical Doctors, by their unhappy assistance, did hereupon depart from the simplicity of the faith, according to the Divine predictions. Justin Martyr valued himself upon his skill in the Platonic philosophy. [Apol. i.] And in his second Apology he pleads, that Plato had learned of Moses, that the whole frame of the universe was made and formed by the Word of God. Thus,” says he, “these men put on Christ, but in such a manner, as however not to put off Plato.” Let the understanding reader observe the countenance and singular impudence of the man. He is not ashamed openly to avow, that he and his companions do, and that continually, contradict, not only the present Catholic Church, but also the Divines of the first ages. He does not stick most abominably to slander those holy men, of whom even the greater part sealed the Christian faith with their blood, as though they had embraced their notion of the Son of God, not from the Scriptures, but from their own imaginations, and what they had been taught in Plato’s school, and what themselves had thus unluckily embraced, they obtruded upon the people as an article of faith; that is to say, he represents these venerable persons, as a sort of wicked innovators, and sacrilegious corrupters of the Christian faith; and this in its principal and main article. And as to what he talks of Platonism, and of Justin Martyr, as introducing it into the Church, I have clearly shewn the vanity of it, in the forenamed dissertation against Zuicker, etc.
Presently after, this author of Ante-Nicenism proceeds thus, “Yet the plain Christian truth was not thus vilely depraved all at once. For the Unitarians have made it evident from undoubted testimonies of the Fathers, that the opinion of the ante-Nicene Doctors, was either throughly Arian, or very near being so, unquestionably nearer to the error whereinto Arius had fallen, than to the fancies of the schoolmen, or, which is all one, to the decretory articles of our modern Homoousians.” Here I would fain know what it is the Unitarians have made appear from the undoubted testimonies of the Fathers. Is it that the opinion of the ante-Nicene Doctors was perfectly Arian? He dares by no means stand to this assertion, and therefore presently subjoins, “or like that of the Arians.” And still he is uncertain, and for this cause adds, “unquestionably nearer to the error whereinto Arius had fallen, than to the fancies of the schoolmen,” etc. But I do affirm, it is plain from undoubted testimonies of the ante-Nicene Doctors, that their belief was neither Arian, nor like it, but manifestly contrary to that of the Arians. For they all acknowledged the consubstantiality of the Son, which is diametrically opposite to the Arian hypothesis. This I have evidently shewn in my Defence of the Nicene Faith. This is owned by Petavius himself, by whom the Unitarians have been taught to vent this slander of the Fathers of the first ages. Nevertheless the author of Ante-Nicenism has learned of Curcelleus to make this objection, That the ancient Doctors who acknowledged the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, meant nothing more by it, than that the Essence of the Father, and of the Son, is specifically the same.
I answer; Supposing it were so, this would never prove the belief of the ante-Nicene Fathers was either Arian or like it. For in truth, as concerning the specific unity of Persons in the blessed Trinity, such as is the union of subsistences, or persons amongst things created (for instance, of three men, Peter, Paul, and John, which are distinct from one another, and do not any way depend upon each other as to their essence), this the Fathers of the first ages never dreamed of. They acknowledged a very different union of the Divine Persons, such as that there is no pattern of it, no likeness whereby to illustrate it, to be found in the whole creation. They thus explain the matter, that God the Father is, as I said, the Head and Fountain of the Divinity, from Whom the Son and Spirit are derived, but in such a manner, that they are not divided from the subsistence of the Father, but are in the Father, and the Father is in them, by a certain Ļ__________, “inexistence,” or “inhabitation” so called. As may be seen more largely in the Defence of the Nicene Faith. [Sect. 4. c. 4.] Petavius himself argues, That from this inhabitation a numerical unity may be effected. [De Trinitate, lib. iv. c. 16.] And it is certainly manifest, that this explication can no way consist with the Arian hypothesis. It is also manifest, that this explication has nothing to do with Tritheism, and that the Unity does consist with it, without prejudice to the real distinction of Persons. Which has been observed by the Roman Synod, held under their Bishop Dionysius, in the cause of Dionysius of Alexandria, who was accused by some of the Church of Pentapolis, of denying the consubstantiality of the Son of God. For the Fathers in that Council, having first severely checked the introducers of Tritheism for mangling and dividing the holy Unity into three strange hypostases, perfectly separate from each other, afterwards subjoin this reason of their accusation. “For it is necessary that the Divine Word be united to the God of all. As also the Holy Ghost must abide and dwell in God. And indeed it is highly necessary that the holy Trinity be collected and joined together in one as the Head, I mean the Almighty God of all things.” This explication was always accounted orthodox in the Church of Christ, unto the days of Damascene, who, Lib. iii. of The Orthodox Faith, [C. 5.] discourses thus of the Divine Persons; “We know that they cannot depart or be separated from each other, and are united, and dwell in one another without confusion, so that they are united without confusion (for they are three though united), and are distinguished without separation. For though each Person subsists by itself, or is a perfect subsistence, and has its own property, that is, a different manner of existing, yet are they united in their essence and natural properties. And inasmuch they are not separated, nor do withdraw from the subsistence of the Father, they both are, and are said to be, one God.” That this inhabitation is a great mystery, fitter for our religious adoration, than to be curiously enquired into, I have hinted in the end of my Defence of the Nicene Faith. And what I have there said concerning it, I would beg the reader to overlook again and again, and especially that he would get by heart those words of the most learned Athenagoras, fit to be written in letters of gold, with which that book concludes.*
*[____ ___ ___ Ļ__’ _____ _____ _______, ___ _ ___ Ļ_____ Ļ___ ___ Ļ_____ ______, ___ _ ___ Ļ_____ Ļ___ ___ ____ ________, __ __ Ļ_____, ___ _ ___ ________ ______, ___ _________, _________ ___ Ļ________, ___ Ļ_____, ___ Ļ_____. To know God, and the Word that is from Him, what is the Unity of the Son with the Father, what is the Father’s communication to the Son, what the Spirit, what is the union and distinction of the united Spirit, and Son and Father.]
But what this author of Ante-Nicenism a little after affirms in this Preface, is very surprising. For he tells us, “The Nicene Fathers determine the Son to be begotten of the Essence of the Father (“begotten,” says he, “I say, not created”), yet begotten before all ages, but not coeternal with the Father.” Yet it is apparent that the Nicene Fathers owned the coeternity of the Son, from the anathema annexed to their Creed, wherein they condemn those who said of the Son, “that there was a time when He was not.” For if the Son is not coeternal with the Father, the Arians had reason for their assertion, that “there was a time when He was not.” However, says he immediately after, these same Fathers decreed the Son to be “of the same Essence with the Father, but by no means coequal with Him.” Weakly enough; for if the Son be of the same Essence with the Father, He must inevitably be equal to the Father, as to His nature and essence; which is all the equality of the Son that the Catholics pretend to maintain. [See the Defence of the Nicene Faith. Sect. iv. c. 2.]
Animadversions on the Treatise itself.
In the examination of the Preface, I have already shaken the main strength of the following Treatise, by removing that objection, which runs through the whole discourse of the author of Ante-Nicenism, and which he everywhere sets as a Gorgon’s head, against the testimonies of the ante-Nicene Doctors, which I have alleged for the consubstantiality and coeternity of the Son. The objection he most plainly lays down [Ante-Nicen. p. 100.] in these words, “If I should grant the most learned Dr. G. Bull both the consubstantiality, and the coeternity, though this would satisfy the title of his book, and his defense of the Council (perhaps more than enough as to the coeternity), yet could not the Doctor be thought to have fully performed his undertaking; for whatsoever the title page pretends to, it is apparent that the Doctor does everywhere level his darts against the Unitarians, with respect to their denial of Christ’s being the Supreme God, and having the same numerical Essence with the Father; which, unless Dr. Bull believed, even he also would be called heretic by the Autotheists and other Catholics, in like manner as he may be called a semi-Arian by such zealots, as believe that none, not even the least inferiority, or minority, can be inferred in any respect, from the order that is between them.” How the ancient Catholic Doctors (with whom I hold) did by way of distinction call God the Father the Supreme God, without prejudice to the true Divinity of the Son of God; what union of Persons they believed in the blessed Trinity, I have fully and clearly shewn. And it is apparent enough, that I have nothing to fear from those called Autotheists, seeing I have openly and barefaced set myself to confute them. [Defence of the Nicene Faith, Sect. 4, 1. §. 7, 8.] Nor am I at all concerned for those zealots, who are wont to talk rashly of things they do not understand. I always loved Truth above all things, and have sought it with true sincerity of heart, and a freedom from the bias of affections (and I hope by God’s grace have found it), not in the labyrinths of the schoolmen, nor the systems of modern authors (though I have never wholly slighted the works either of the one, or of the other, but ever conceived they might be read with profit), but in the Holy Scriptures, understood, to use the language of Vincentius Lirinensis, [Adv. Haeres. c. 2.] according to the sense of the Catholic Church. But of this sufficiently.
It would be too long a task to discover all the frauds, arts, and windings of this author. And accordingly, I shall only take notice of some of the principal of them, and this too but very briefly. He has hammered out a distinction concerning the sense of the words “high” and “low,” which he does not fail to make use of, for evading some of the more famous testimonies of the ancients produced by me. Thus, for instance, as to that remarkable passage of Clement of Alexandria [Protrept. p. 68.]; “Who is most manifestly God, Who is made equal with the Lord of the universe, because He was His Son, and was the Word in God.” “The force,” saith he, “of the argument lies in the word _________, made equal.” Then he answers, [P. 94.] “First in general, There is no need that this equality be entirely complete, in the higher sense, such as the doctrine of Athanasius requires.” But what does the sophister mean by those words “entirely complete?” Does he intend an equality also as to his original? But such an equality is not what the doctrine of the Athanasians requires. For neither Athanasius, nor any one of the ancients, did ever deny the preeminence of God the Father, as He is the Original and Fountain of the Divinity. And it is therefore impertinently enough that he answers, in the next page, to this testimony of Clement; “Clement expressly distinguishes the Word from the Father, as Lord of the universe; which words, by Dr. Bull’s own confession, assert an eminence and prerogative to the Father, that is, say I, that the Son is not the Supreme God.” Here Clement speaks of an equality of nature, and he most manifestly teaches it to be exactly the same. For he says, “the Word is most manifestly the true God.” Can these words possibly be understood in a lax or lower sense? How could it be, that Clement could contrive to express “the highest and strictest sense” more significantly? Besides, Clement proves the Word is most manifestly the true God, for this reason, because He is the Son of God, and exists in God. The force of which reason lies apparently in this, that every son is of the same nature and essence with his father, and that whatsoever exists in God Himself, must necessarily be very God. But what does Mr. Clerke mean by adding these words in the same place? [P. 94.] “Moreover Dr. Bull does not collect from his authors, that this equality is to be understood of the Person, and not of the Divine Nature, but either for supporting his cause, or forced by necessity, fixes it upon them, by a distinction invented long after the death of those authors.” Does he design by this, that not one of those who lived before Clement, ever taught the Son of God to be of the same nature with His Father, and so be equal to God the Father in respect of His nature, and yet at the same time that the Son is in some respect inferior to God the Father, namely, as He is the second Person, and has His original from God the Father? If so, I must tell him that the Fathers, who lived before and after Clement, taught both the one and the other; and that I have clearly shewn they did, in my Defence of the Nicene Faith. [Sect. 4. c. 2.] What follows in his answer to this passage of Clement, [P. 95.] argues him guilty, either of impudence, or at least of most gross negligence in reading my book. He tells us, “The reason assigned by Clement, and alleged by Sandius, that is, His being the Son of God, makes good his assertion; inasmuch as every son, as such, is less than his father, nor would the Gentiles, to whom Clement writes, understand this reason otherwise. To which reason of Sandius, Dr. Bull has made no answer.” Than which nothing can be more false, for I have largely answered that foolish objection. [Sect. 4. c. 2. §. 4.]
When he finds he cannot with any colour use that distinction of a higher and lower sense, for weakening the force of any testimony produced by me, he has recourse to that desperate refuge of changing the Author’s text, though without the authority of any either printed or manuscript copy on his side. Thus, for instance, to that famous saying of Clement, [Paedag. c. 7.] which I had cited, [Defence, etc. sect 2. c. 6. §. 4.] “He can want nothing, who has THE WORD, THE ALMIGHTY GOD; nor does he ever lack any of those things which are needful for him. For THE WORD is a possession that has nothing wanting to it, and which is the foundation of all plenty.” To this saying of Clement, I say, the author of Ante-Nicenism thus answers [P. 82.]; “The most remarkable place cited from Clement by Dr. Bull, is Paedag. 1. 3. c. 7. ________ ___ _ ___ Ļ___________ ____ _____ ____, etc. [D. B. p. 145.] ‘He can want nothing who has the Word, the Almighty God.’ Which passage, written by the Doctor in capital letters, a small alteration would rectify, that is to say if it were written in the genitive case ___ Ļ____________ ____. And unless some such error of the scribe be admitted, I may safely affirm the word Almighty to have been impudently foisted in by some impostor.” Whereto I reply, That that small alteration of the text is not to be borne, not only as having no manuscript copy to countenance it, but moreover because that alteration, as small as it is, would quite ruin the sense of the author. Clement’s sense is apparently this, That he who has the Word can want nothing, because that Word is God Almighty, Who can do all things for those who are His, and Who as Almighty God is the Cause of all plenty.
Again, he demands of me, and appeals to my conscience, where I have ever found, that any ancient Doctor ever called Christ by the name of God Almighty? I answer, Tertullian calls Him by that name, and in that very place which he himself presently refers to, though he durst not recite the whole. Against Praxeas, [C. 7.] “The names of the Father, God Almighty, the Most High, the Lord of Hosts, the King of Israel, Who is, as the Scriptures teach. These we say belong to the Son likewise, and that the Son came in these, and always acted in them, and so manifested them in Himself to men. ‘All that the Father hath,’ saith he, ‘is Mine’; why then not His names? Wherefore when thou readest Almighty God, and the Most High, and the Lord of Hosts, and the King of Israel, and He Who is; consider whether the Son be not demonstrated hereby; Who is IN HIS OWN RIGHT GOD ALMIGHTY, AS HE IS THE WORD OF ALMIGHTY GOD.” These words of Tertullian, the author of Ante-Nicenism impudently, as his manner is, refers to Christ as He is “exalted at the right hand of God.” Nor does he stick to affirm, that from this very place “it plainly appears, that Tertullian in his Treatise against Praxeas (which Dr. Bull commends and urges in favour of the consubstantiality) did not believe Christ to be Almighty God.” Certainly the sense of Tertullian, in the place cited, is most manifestly, that CHRIST AS HE IS THE NATURAL SON OF GOD THE FATHER, and as He is His Word (the Word that exists in Him) has all things that God the Father hath, and so all the essential attributes of God the Father belong to Him, and among the rest the attribute of God Almighty.
With the same confidence he labours to elude that notable place of Irenaeus [Adv. Haer. l. ii. c. 43.]; “Thou art not unmade, O man, nor didst thou always coexist with God, as His own Word has done.” On which place he has this note, [P. 133.] “It would not seem absurd (were there any need of it) to expound these words, by understanding [God] to whom Irenaeus is wont to join the Word: as much as to say, Thou, O man, art not unmade, as God is, nor didst thou always coexist with God, as His nearest Word.” Whereas it is most apparent, that each branch of this sentence of Irenaeus, namely [neither art thou unmade] and [neither didst thou always coexist with God] ought to be referred to the same, the Word of God. I add farther, though the former branch, “neither art thou unmade,” were expunged, the case would yet remain the same, and the Word of God unmade, that is, that He was not made, nor a creature, would be sufficiently signified by the other part of the sentence, “nor didst thou always coexist with God, as His Word” has done. Forasmuch as in those words the coeternal existence of the _____, or “Word,” with God the Father is so declared, that it necessarily follows, that the Word is in no wise to be reckoned amongst the things that are made by God, or His creatures. It is moreover to be observed, that Mr. Clerke follows the corrupt and absurd reading of Erasmus and Gallasius, by putting proximum, “nearest,” for proprium, “his own,” against the authority of more manuscripts, and those of, the best note. [See the note of our most learned Grabe upon the place.]
Besides, it is to be observed, That Mr. Clerke, in his answer to The Testimony of the Ancients, cited by me, almost constantly conceals the chief arguments, whereby I establish those testimonies; as also sometimes the objections, which I have clearly confuted, are brought in afresh, as if they had been slyly passed over, and not a word said to them. Thus, for example, [P. 101.] to the testimonies of Justin for the consubstantiality of the Son, being to give his answer, he only carps at the similes which the good man used for the illustration of his assertions, though such as no one in his senses could think to quadrate in all points. Concerning this the candid reader may please to consult, what has been said in the Defence, [Sect. 2. c. 7. §. 4.] and there he will see that not only Justin acknowledged the truth of the consubstantiality of the Son, but likewise that the doctrine of the production of the Son of the Essence and Substance of God the Father, was an opinion received, fixed, settled, and established in the Catholic Church in his age; and that the heretics of those times opposed that doctrine, with the same cavils that the Arians and other heretics made use of afterwards; and, lastly, that the Catholics of Justin’s age overthrew that sophism by the very same answer, that the Catholic Doctors after Arius’s controversy raised about the consubstantiality, urged for stopping the mouths of the Arians. So as to what he objects from Tertullian, [P. 111–114.] saying “a portion of the Divinity,” that God the Father “could not be included in a place,” and that “He is invisible,” that the Son “appeared in a place, and is visible,” I have answered all this in a particular manner, in the Defence [Sect. 2. c. 7. § 4, 5; and sect. 4. c. 3. § 89.]: that all these things Mr. Clerke passes over in silence: however, I dare confidently appeal to Mr. Clerke’s conscience, whether in good earnest he believes Tertullian did really think God the Father and the Son, to be of such a different nature, that the one should be an imperfect, the other perfect God, that one might be included in a place, the other not, as also that the one is visible, the other invisible. The express testimonies of Tertullian, alleged by me, [Defence, § 2. c. 7.] concerning the consubstantiality of the Son, are contrary to this. I will say it for once that I request this one thing of the candid reader (nor is my desire unreasonable), that he do not rashly give his assent to Mr. Clerke’s affirmations, in his answer to my book, without consulting the places themselves which he professes to answer.
Mr. Clerke, in his answer to my book, handles matters confusedly, preposterously, and without observing any method. The chief heads that are yet behind, I shall briefly note, as they come in my way. P. 78. When he begins to dispute against me, you may read these words: “Let us first treat of Clement, whom Dr. Bull proves to be a Trinitarian, because he calls Christ ‘God,’ and ‘the great God’; as if the Unitarians themselves did not acknowledge Christ to be God, and indeed the great God; yea, according to Rom. 9:5; ‘over all, God blessed forever’.” Now that Clemens Alexandrinus was a Trinitarian, I prove, not only from Christ’s being called by him “God,” and “the great God,” but from many other most clear testimonies cited in the Defence. [§. 2. c. 6.] One illustrious testimony I have produced above, and have vindicated it from the frivolous exceptions of Mr. Clerke. But who can read without indignation, what Mr. Clerke says; that he and his Unitarians own Christ to be “God,” and indeed “the great God”; yea, according to Rom. 9:5; “over all, God blessed forever”? That is to say, the Unitarians own Christ to be God, but a made God, such as is a mere creature, such as had no existence before His birth of the Virgin. O great God!
Again, p. 79. and the two following, are spent in a long explication, or perversion rather, of that noble text of St. Paul. To which explication of his, may be opposed what I have written in the Defence. [Sect. 2. c. 5. §. 3.] Where I have shewn that all the Fathers, even those before the Nicene Council, whensoever they have had occasion to cite the text, have both read and understood it, as it is now read and understood by the present Catholics.
P. 84. He insists upon a passage of Clement, [Strom. l. vii. p. 702.] cited before him by Petavius, and which I have already examined in the Defence, [Sect. 2. c. 6. §. 6.] in which passage are these words, _ ____ _____ __ ____ Ļ___________ Ļ___________, “The Person of the Son,” for so _____ is used in other places, “is most intimately united to the Almighty,” that is, to God the Father. And for answer to what I have said to that passage, he replies, that “Dr. Bull, to evade the force of the place cited, would have Ļ___________ rendered rather by conjunctissima, ‘most intimately united,’ than by propinquissima, ‘nearest’. Which, if it signifies anything, makes for me. For by how much the more intimately the second Person is united to the first, so much the more magnificent titles may be attributed to Him; but withal, as the second Person is not the first, how intimately soever united to Him; so, by consequence, neither is the _____, ‘the Word,’ God Almighty, notwithstanding His most intimate union with Him.” Whereto I have returned answer, That _ Ļ__________, “the Almighty,” in the place mentioned, denotes God the Father, Who, as He is the Fountain of the Divinity, is in a more eminent manner called the Almighty God, by Clement and other ancient writers. Now I readily confess the WORD, though the nearest and most intimately united to God the Father, yet is not God the Father; nay, inasmuch as He is said to be next, or most intimately united (for it is no great matter whether of these ways the word Ļ___________ be translated) is manifestly distinguished from God the Father. In the meantime, I have a little above clearly shewn, that the Word as He is begotten of that same Almighty God the Father (the perfect Word born of the perfect Father, as Clement himself speaks [Paedog. 1. i. c. 6. p. 92.]) may be called, and is, God Almighty. Yet Mr. Clerke in his Tract repeats this place of Clement over and over, and makes great boast of it, and after Petavius’s example, infers from it, that this most learned Father was of opinion with the Arians, or at least with the semi-Arians, that the nature of the Son of God is next, or most like to that of the Father, but not the same with it. But as to this, let the impartial reader consult, and seriously weigh with himself, the several places cited out of Clement, in my Defence of the Nicene Faith, [Sect. 2. c. 6.] but especially that noble Doxology at the end of his Paedagogus, mentioned in §. 4. of that chapter. And then let him believe, if he can, that Clement did not acknowledge the consubstantiality of the Son. Wherefore is it not better to take the word _____ personally in the place of Clement now under consideration, as Photius and even Petavius himself have observed it to have been taken by other Fathers? [See the Defence of the Nicene Faith, sect. 2. c. 9. ft. 11.]
In the same page, Mr. Clerke observes of the primitive Fathers, that they “very frequently speak of the Son of God, as of the Minister of the Father, and obedient to Him.” And a little after he produces other places, especially from Irenaeus, which look that way. But I have amply answered those places upon Petavius’s allegation of them, [Defence, sect. 2. c. 5. §. 5–7.] where I have also clearly made it out, that in those places such things are spoken by Irenaeus, as savour so little of Arianism, that they are totally subversive of the doctrine of Arius. Let the impartial reader see what I have said there, and then let him judge. The next page but one he brings a place out of Origen, [L. vi.] against Celsus, where Adamantius says, “The immediate Maker of the world was the Son of God, the Word, Who built the world as it were by Himself; but that the Father by reason of His commanding His Son and Word to make the world, was therefore prime Maker of it.” Yet he knows I have already considered this place at large, as being cited by Petavius, and have apparently made out, that nothing is said in it, but what other Catholics, both ante-Nicene, and post-Nicene, have said, nothing that fairly interpreted is unagreeable to the rule of faith, as it is delivered and explained by the Nicene Fathers. [See the Defence, sect. 2. c. 9. §. 10.]
In the same page Mr. Clerke proceeds in this manner: “I thank Dr. Bull for supplying me with two testimonies, and those irrefragable ones; the former out of Eusebius, in praise of Constantine, c. 11. _Ļ__ ___, etc. ‘Because it could not be, that the transient substance of bodies, and the nature of rational creatures already born into the world, should approach God the chief Governor of all things, because at an infinite distance from Him – parted and separated to the utmost degree, from that unbegotten nature. It was not therefore without cause, that the infinitely good and great God, has interposed an intermediate divine and almighty power of His only-begotten Word, which might most perfectly and nearly converse with God the Father. – Yet, nevertheless, He graciously condescends, and in some sort disposes and adapts Himself to those things that are vastly off from His sublime height. And, in truth, the WORD is at a distance, but not so great an one from the height.’ But what does Dr. Bull answer to these things? He answers, p. 392; That Eusebius manifestly teaches that the power of the Word is of a middle sort betwixt God and the creatures, not as considered in itself, but because of that condescension he speaks of.’” Where this sophister gives a lame and imperfect relation of my answer. [See Defence, sect. 3. c. 9, §. 11.] I first noted as to that place of Eusebius, that he “manifestly teaches that the power of the Word is of a middle sort betwixt God and the creatures, not as considered in itself, but because of the condescension he speaks of. Indeed he expressly teaches that the power of the Word, even when He thus humbles Himself, does most perfectly and nearly converse with God the Father, and abiding in Him, does more ineffably enjoy His secrets, in like manner as Athanasius says, The Word Himself does not so condescend, but that He always remains the unalloyed splendour of the Father.” And presently after I add: “But the words of Eusebius in this same Oration in praise of Constantine [C. 7.]; put this matter beyond all controversy, whilst subtly philosophizing upon the number of Three, he says, Thereby is signified the Holy Trinity, that is to say, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Whose nature is equal, and alike untreated, and without beginning.” His words are these, _____ __ _____, etc. “The number of the three first sheaved justice, teaching equality, as having equal beginning, middle, and end. And these are a representation of the mystical, most holy, and majestic Trinity; which, consisting of a nature that had no original or production, contains in it the seeds, reasons, and causes of all things that have been produced.” What, I pray, could ever be more effectually than this, or more expressly urged by any Catholic, against Arius, and the other Antitrinitarians?
P. 88. Thus speaks the author of Ante-Nicenism; “Dr. Bull cites the words of that same Alexander, whose Presbyter Arius was, cited also by Schlictingius. [De Trinit adv. Meisnerum, p. 144. Theod. 1. i. c. 4.] The illiterate and ignorant do not understand the great difference betwixt the unbegotten Father, and the things created by Him out of nothing, whether rational, or void of reason; betwixt which two comes in the middle, the only-begotten nature of the Word of God, by which the Father made all things out of nothing, and it is begotten of the very true Father. These words, as Dr. Bull says, need no commentator.” Falsely and impudently, as his manner is! I did not say this place of Alexander needs no commentator; on the contrary, [Defence of the Nicene Faith, sect. 3. c. 9. §. 11.] I made use of a commentator who best knew Alexander’s meaning, and that was Alexander himself, who in the same place, after not many words interposed, adds, “No one knows the Father but the Son, and no one knows the Son but the Father. This Son we have learnt to be above all alteration and change in like manner as the Father, that He wants nothing, but is perfect and like the Father, inferior to Him only in this, that He is not unbegotten; for He is the most exact image of the Father, and differing from Him in nothing.” I said these words are so clear and express, as to need no commentator. And now I add: He that wrote thus could not say in the same sense with Arius, that the Son of God comes in the middle, betwixt God and the creatures.
Again, says Mr. Clerke, that “to the end I might seem to say something, I was pleased here to take nature for person.” And I confess, in the margin of my book, with respect to that place of Alexander, where it is said, “The only begotten. nature of the Word of God coming in the middle,” I have written thus, “he takes nature for person; for he understands _____ __ _Ļ_______, the nature in the subsistence, as Valesius had noted before upon the place.” You see the note is not mine, but the most learned Valesius’s, who also confirmed it out of Alexander’s own words, not far from the place referred to. But this our worthless author concealed from his reader.
P. 90. Mr. Clerke, to a passage cited by me [Defence of the Nicene Faith, sect. 4. c. 3. §. 14.] out of Eusebius, [H. E. 1. i. c. 2.] “Where Eusebius, speaking of the Angel, which was worshipped by Abraham as God and Judge, writes thus, __ ___, etc. ‘For seeing it is highly irrational, that the unbegotten and immutable nature of Almighty God, should be turned into the form of a man, and deceive the eyes of the spectators with a false appearance of some creature; or that the Scripture should groundlessly feign any such thing: by what other name can that God and Lord, Who judges all the earth, and executes His judgment, appearing in the form of a man, be called, but of that Word of God, which was before all things, since this is by no means to be interpreted of the first Author of all things.’” But here again, according to his wonted ingenuity, he entirely passes over in silence another place of Eusebius, cited by me at the same time, whereby I explain Eusebius’s mind from Eusebius himself. That other place will shew that Eusebius did not at all think the Son of God, Who of old appeared in a visible form to the Fathers, to be in reality of a different nature from the Father, that is to say, of a finite and mutable nature; not to say that He was not actually changed by these appearances. He in many places rejects that blasphemy with detestation. Yea, he expressly teaches, that the Word of God, even after the assumption of true man into the unity of His Person, continued the same immutable, immense, and omnipresent God; in his Oration of the praises of Constantine, which is added at the end of his History, [Chapter 14.] where he writes thus, “And in these things He ministered to the counsels of His Father, remaining the mean while void of matter, as He was before with the Father, neither His substance being changed, nor His nature lost, nor tied by the bonds of the flesh, nor verily to be contained in the place where His human vessel was, so as that He could upon no account be present anywhere else, but that at the same time when He conversed amongst men, He filled all things with His presence; and He was with the Father, and in the Father, and took care of all things both in Heaven and earth. Nor did anything hinder Him, as it does us, from being present everywhere.”
Mr. Clerke produces some things out of Eusebius’s writings, which can very hardly, if at all, be defended. But these are taken out of those books, which were written before the Council of Nice. And Valesius has justly and wisely observed of Eusebius’s accusers. [Vales. de Vit. etc. Script. Euseb.] “They allege some passages of Eusebius, whereby to prove him a favourer of the Arian doctrine, but they never distinguish between the books he wrote before the Council of Nice, and those afterwards; which yet ought in all reason to be done, in order to the forming a certain and right judgment of Eusebius’s faith. For so many of them as were written before the Nicene Synod, ought not to be objected and imputed to Eusebius.”
Henceforward for several pages together, Mr. Clerke is got again to Clement, and vexes and tortures his writings, whereby to force something out of them, that may serve his cause, but all in vain. Let the candid reader consult my Defence, [Sect. 2 c. 6.] and he will wonder at the confidence of the man, in daring to appeal to this most learned Father, as a patron of the Arian or semi-Arian tenets. One word Ļ___________ has taken such entire possession of the vain man’s brains, and they are so full of it, that he could never since see anything that was right, either in Clement, or in the rest of the Fathers. Whereas in truth had he read, and seriously weighed with himself, what follows in Clement immediately after Ļ___________, he would have found that this most excellent Father, did by no means design, by that word, to signify the Divinity of the Son to be any way inferior to that of the Father. “This,” says Clement, “is the greatest excellency, which orders all things after the Father’s will, and governs the universe in the best manner, working all things by a power that is never to be wearied or exhausted, because it works with its eye fixed upon hidden notions. For the Son of God never comes down from His watchtower, as never being divided, never parted asunder, and never passes from place to place, but is always everywhere, and yet contained no where: all mind, all the Light of the Father, all eye; sees all things, hears all things, knows all things, and by His power searches the powers.” In these words the principal essential attributes of God, and which are not communicable to the creatures, are nevertheless given to the Son, namely, immutability, immensity, omnipresence, and omniscience. Now will this sophister here obtrude upon us his threadbare distinction of a “higher” and a “lower” sense? or if he should, who can conceive a lower omniscience, or a lower omnipresence? Clement here absolutely and simply affirms the Son of God to be present everywhere, not to be contained in any space, to see all things, hear all things, and know all things. And what room can here be for a lower sense, without a contradiction? For that would be the same thing, as to say, The Son of God is infinite, and no place can contain Him, and yet He is circumscribed in a certain place; the Son of God is omnipresent, yet there are some places where He is not; He sees all things, hears all things, knows all things, but still there are some things which He neither sees, hears, nor knows. Besides, it is in an especial manner to be taken notice of, that the Son is here styled by Clement, “all mind, all the Light of the Father.” Which words perspicuously declare the Father’s Divinity to be in the Son, and, by consequence, that the Divinity of the Father and of the Son is the same.
P. 102. Mr. Clerke takes to task the place I had cited out of the Epistle to Diognetus, [This Epistle Dr. Cave concludes to be Justin’s own; and Mr. Du Pin favours also the same opinion.] attributed to Justin, and if not his, was yet written by some Catholic author at least of the same age with him. “Dr. Bull,” says he, “alleges out of Justin’s Epistle to Diognetus, many things magnificently spoken of Christ, such as that the stars obey Him, etc., but all these will be abundantly settled by Clement’s Ļ___________.” O rare! what is it this most powerful word Ļ___________ cannot bring to pass! If a hundred places were produced, from any primitive Father, declaring the Son’s Divinity in the most significant words that can be, this will be of no service with Mr. Clerke; that one word. of Clement will answer all, and that abundantly. However, should I grant Mr. Clerke that this word of Clement does really signify as he would have it, what is this to the author of the Epistle to Diognetus? Are all the first Fathers to be expounded by that one word of Clement? But the reader may consult the passage out of the Epistle to Diognetus, cited in the Defence, etc. [Sect. 2. c. 4. § 7.]; and there he will find the true Divinity of the Son declared by the author in the most express words: “He expressly denies ___ _____, or the Son of God, to be His Minister, or creature (which two words I have often observed to be of the same importance, and it is manifest enough that they are so), calling Him Incomprehensible, and the Maker and Creator of all things, on Whose pleasure the whole frame of the world, both of Heaven and earth, depends, and by Whose power it is sustained; and to Whom all creatures of whatsoever rank are subject, and obey Him as their Maker, God, and Lord. He says, that He was sent into this world, as King from King, as God from God; as much as to say, the Son a King from the Father a King, the Son God from the Father God.” Here to what I say, that the author expressly affirms God the Father to have sent His Son, ___ __ _Ļ______, “not as His Minister or servant,” Mr. Clerke replies, the answer is very easy. Let us therefore hear his answer, “The author means such a sort of servant as the Angels are, and men, who govern the things of this world, etc. as he explains himself; not a servant serving in a servile manner; for there is a vast distance between an Angel and the Son begotten of the Essence of the Father.” Most certainly; between an Angel, and the Son begotten of the Essence of the Father, there is -a vast distance; as great a distance as is between God and the creatures, that is, an infinite one. For whatsoever is begotten of the very Essence of God, must necessarily be God. Hence the author of the Epistle, after he had said that God the Father sent His Son, “not as His servant,” adds that God the Father sent His Son as the very Maker and Creator of all things, as King from King, and finally as “ God.”
P. 104, 105. I have insisted on that noble testimony of Justin, relating to the worship and adoration of the Holy Trinity, of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. [Defence, etc. Sect. 2. c. 4. §. 8.] It is in these words,* “We freely confess, that with respect to the reputed gods we are Atheists, and have none such; but we are not without the most true God, the Father of justice, and chastity, and other virtues, and Who is free from all mixture and spot of vice. This same God, and the Son that cometh from Him (and has taught us, and the host of those other His followers, the holy Angels, who are also made like to Him), and the Holy Ghost, we worship, and adore, and venerate, rationally and truly.” Upon: which place Mr. Clerke makes this remark, “Justin seems to join the Angels in the third place with the Holy Ghost very indecently, if he had apprehended the Holy Ghost to be the Supreme God.” Perhaps he seems so to Mr. Clerke, as he has to Bellarmine and other Romanists (whose cause this gentleman is now pleading), but really he by no means does it, as I have clearly shewn in the Defence of the Nicene Faith, where I have cited and explained at large this passage of Justin; and as I shall presently prove more fully. The sophister proceeds, “Justin distinguishes the Father under the name of the most true God, from the other Persons; which Dr. Bull overlooked as of no importance.” I answer, Justin does indeed mention God the Father in the first place, under the title of the most true God, as being the Head and Principle of the Deity; but he does it not so, as to exclude the Son and Holy Ghost from the truth of the Divinity; on the other hand, he includes them, by joining them with God the Father, so as to be adored with the same Worship with Him. For the words ________ ___ Ļ___________, “we worship and adore,” are manifestly referred to all the Three Persons. However, to make the sense of this passage the more apparent, the evident opposition is especially to be taken notice of, that is betwixt ____ ____________ _____, “those reputed gods,” which were falsely accounted, and worshipped as gods by the heathens, and the true God Whom alone the Christians adored. Justin confesses the Christians had none of those false gods which the heathens worshipped, and that they might in this sense be called Atheists; but that in truth they were so far from being Atheists, that they were really the most religious worshippers of the true God. But how does he prove this “We worship,” says he, “and adore God the Father, and His Son, and the Holy Ghost, rationally and truly, that is, with a rational and true worship, and not with carnal sacrifices.” Now if either the Son, or the Holy Ghost, were not true God, this had been a very weak defense of the Christians. Because so the Christians themselves had been chargeable with the same crime, of which they accused the heathens, I mean, with worshipping for God what really was not God. What follows in Mr. Clerke is wonderful; for he tells us, “Dr. Bull had good reason to excuse Justin from the invocation of Angels, seeing he in his public prayers invokes the Holy Ghost, without any example or precept in Scripture, or in the practice of the ancient Church, at least in their solemn assemblies.” It is not easy to guess what the trifler intends here; would he have it thought, that the invocation of Angels is not to be disapproved of by any, who himself invokes the Holy Ghost? That this was his main design appears from hence, that the poor wretch presently after affirms expressly, that the Holy Ghost is nothing else but a “Chief among the Angels”. But we, the sons of our holy mother, the Church of England, who hold the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, do upon just grounds invoke Him, not indeed separately, and as parted from the other Persons, but with relation to the Father and Son, Whose Spirit He is. For so we pray in our Litany, “O God the Holy Ghost, Who proceedest from the Father and the Son, have mercy upon us miserable sinners.” Nor do we want some such example of this invocation in the Holy Scriptures: for so St. Paul concludes his second Epistle to the Corinthians, “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” For this is questionless not only a “general wish,” as Mr. Clerke speaks, without any intuition of the mind, or pious elevation of the heart, to the Divine Persons (far be it from us so much as to imagine that of so holy and so eminently pious an Apostle); but it is undoubtedly a serious prayer to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to bestow upon his Corinthians the good things he wishes to them. And for this reason it is, that the prayer concludes with the solemn seal of prayers, Amen. And this Form of Prayer is found in the Liturgy of all Churches, and even the oldest of them. Besides, the three-fold invocation, “Lord have mercy upon us,” etc. which is by all writers of Liturgical matters referred to the blessed Trinity, is very ancient, and used in the Churches, especially of the Greeks, from the utmost antiquity, as may be seen in Cardinal Bona. [Rer. Litnrg. l. ii. c. 4.] But I need not enlarge upon this. Justin, in this very place which we have now under consideration, expressly testifies the Catholic Christians of his age, to have in common worshipped and adored the Holy Ghost also, together with the Father and the Son. The same is testified likewise by the Doxologies in the most ancient Churches, of which Justin also speaks, in which the Holy Ghost is joined with the Father and the Son. [See the Defence, sect. 2. c. 3. § 6. 9. 12.] And again, hereto agrees the seraphic Hymn called the Trisagion, “ Holy, holy, holy,” etc. that used to be sung in all Churches throughout the Christian world, in the celebration of the tremendous Mystery. [Of which see Card. Bona, Rer. Liturg. 1. ii. c. 10.] Can it then be thought a sin to invoke Him, Whom we thus adore and glorify with the Father and the Son, and to implore His mercy and help in our prayers?
[_______ ___ _____ _________, ___ ___________ ___ ________ ___________ ____ _____ _____, ___’ ____ ___ ___________, ___ Ļ_____ ___________, ___ __________, ___ ___ _____ ______, ___Ļ______ __ ______ ____, ___’ _______ __, ___ ___ Ļ__’ _____ ____ _______, ___ _________ ____ _____, ___ ___ ___ _____ _Ļ______ ___ _____________ ______ _______, Ļ_____ __ __ Ļ_________ ________ ___ Ļ___________ ____ ___ _______ ________. p. 56.]
Afterwards Mr. Clerke takes me to task very sharply, for having absurdly interrupted the order of the words in this place of Justin, by joining the Angels not with ________, “we worship,” but _________, “teaching”. And I answer that the words ________, “we worship,” and Ļ___________, “we adore,” can no way be referred to the host of the holy Angels, as will be evinced by this irrefragable argument. If those words be referred to the Angels.; it will follow, that not only Justin approved of the religious worship of Angels (which no man in his wits can believe, that has read his Dialogue with Trypho with any manner of care), but also that the Catholic Church of Christ in Justin’s days worshipped Angels, and with the worship of Latreia, “the highest sort of worship”. For nothing can be more evident, than that Justin pleads the common cause of the Christians, and defends their religion against the heathens. And it is no less certain, that it is not any sort of worship whatsoever that is here treated of, but the worship, as I said, of Latreia, such as the Catholic Church gives to God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But now it appears most plainly, that the religious worship of Angels was utterly unknown in Christ’s Catholic Church, during the three first centuries, and after. Read the writings that remain of the Doctors of the first ages, read the most ancient Liturgies, and you will not find the least tittle in them concerning the religious worship of Angels. It was the consentient voice of the Catholic Church of those first ages, that none but God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, was to be religiously worshipped and adored.
Wherefore it remains, that ________ be joined with _________, and that the mention of good Angels in this place, respects what had been spoken a little before of the evil angels. Which, that it may appear the more dearly, it is to be observed that it is not said simply “the host of Angels,” but ___ ___ _____ _______ _______, “the host of the other Angels”. Certainly the word other manifestly respects other Angels, of whom Justin had been speaking before. But he had said a little before that the Christians had been taught by Christ their Master, about avoiding the evil angels or devils, whom the heathens had for their gods. Here he adds, that we are taught by the same Christ, concerning the other Angels. But what has our Master taught us concerning those other Angels? Only that they are good, and made like their most holy Creator in holiness; but yet _Ļ_______, “following spirits” (a metaphor that I have shewn was taken from footmen, who are wont to follow behind their masters), and hence that they are not to be religiously worshipped and adored. But what pious man can without horror read those words of Mr. Clerke which follow soon after. “Justin,” says he, “joins the Holy Ghost with Angels, as if He were one, and of the chief of them, as He really is, whatsoever Justin thought of Him.” Here he follows the English John Biddle, whom in his Ante-Nicenism he defends against Mr. Estwick. But this foolish and impudent contrivance is not proper for this place, nor does it deserve any elaborate refutation. It is certain, in the highest degree, that neither Justin, nor his cotemporary Catholic Christians, looked upon the Holy Ghost as an Angel.
P. 110. He comes to an objection taken from the immensity and invisibility of God, which the primitive Doctors seem to yield to God the Father, but utterly to withdraw it from the Son of God. “Let us hear,” says Mr. Clerke, “the solution of this knot, which may be comprehended in few words; this knot he dispatches by assumed forms, and a symbolical and economical Presence. The original of the Trinity, and its economy, are with our Trinitarians two omnipotent distinctions. But here Dr. Bull could not have recourse to the original, or beg the question; for this reason he flies to the economy.” For answer whereto, I say, O most impudent man! That distinction concerning the economy is no subterfuge groundlessly invented by me or any other Trinitarian, nor am I constrained to betake myself to it, but being loudly and audibly called upon by those same Fathers, who have seemed to deny the Son’s immensity and invisibility. I have spent a whole chapter, and a very long one, in answering the objection proposed, namely in the Defence. [Sect. 4. c. 3. §. 12.] And the sum of my answer is this. “Those Doctors of the Church who wrote before the rise of Arius’s heresy, as oft as they reason thus: It was not God the Father, but the Son, that appeared under the Old Testament, and became incarnate in the fullness of time, the Father is infinite, and cannot be included in a place, is invisible, and cannot be seen by any: they did not intend to deny the Son of God to be in His nature immense and invisible, as well as the Father; but only signified hereby, that both all those appearances of God, and even the Incarnation itself, had relation to the economy which the Son of God had taken upon Him; which economy could no way suit with the Father, because of His having no principle from whence He is, nor deriving His authority from any besides Himself.” That this was the certain intent and opinion of those ancients, I have made appear upon these two accounts. First, Because upon other occasions, they in many places all confess God the Son to be, as well as the Father, in His own nature immense, omnipresent, and invisible. And again, Because some of them do themselves expressly interpret these their sayings concerning the economy. What therefore has Mr. Clerke to say to this? He pleads, “The Fathers were solicitous above all that have been most forward, to assert to the Father, the prerogative, as to the supreme God, both as to His nature, and as to His attributes and operations (for in all these things the Fathers had their higher and their lower sense), so as that they thought the immensity of Almighty God did excel and transcend the immensity of the Son and Holy Ghost (not in any great degree), yet so far, that God Almighty neither ascended, nor descended, nor did or could appear in a place, in such a manner as the Son appeared, not even so much as in a figure.” This is a perfect begging the question; and I have shewn by many, and those most convincing testimonies, that those ancient Doctors thought the Nature and Essence of God the Father and the Son, was exactly the same, and their essential attributes the same; and, by consequence, that the immensity, omnipotence, and invisibility of both, is the same. Why does he not return an answer to these testimonies? Undoubtedly because he has no satisfactory answer to return. It would be too much to repeat all those testimonies in this place. The reader may find them in the third chapter of the fourth section concerning the subordination of the Son to the Father, etc. I shall instance only in two at present; one is of Clement of Alexandria, [Strom. 7. p. 702.] “The Son of God never comes down from His watchtower, as never being divided, never parted asunder, and never passes from place to place, but is always everywhere, and contained nowhere; all mind, all the Father’s light, all eye, sees all things, hears all things, knows all things, and by His power searches the powers. To Him all the host of the Angels and Gods is in subjection: I say, to the Word of the Father, which took upon Him the holy dispensation, for His sake Who put them in subjection.” Lo, here he teaches plainly, that the Word or Son of God is not divided, not parted asunder, does not pass from place to place, that He is always everywhere, and is contained nowhere. Nevertheless he grants that the Son of God took upon Him the holy dispensation appointed Him by the Father, both when He appeared under the Old Testament, to the Prophets and holy men under a personated form, whether human, or of any other body; and especially under the New, when having assumed true man into the unity of His Person, He conversed with men upon the earth. The other testimony is of Tertullian against Praxeas, [Cap. 2.] where upon that place of St. Matthew, [Chapter 17.] he writes thus: “You have the Son on earth, you have the Father in heaven. It is not a separation, but a divine disposition. Yet you ought to know that God is also within the abysses, and consists everywhere, but it is by His might and power; and likewise that the Son is everywhere with Him, as not divided from Him. However, in the dispensation, the Father would have the Son to dwell on earth, and Himself in heaven.” Where he clearly teaches, that the Son of God, and God the Father, are alike present everywhere, which he proves also by this sound reason, that the Son is undivided from the Father, nor can be separated from Him. Which reason all the Catholic Fathers, as well ante-Nicene as post-Nicene, allowed of. They all profess with one mouth, that the Son is begotten of the Essence of the Father, without any parting or division, and that He is so brought forth of the Father, as never to be separated from the Father. Whereas if the omnipresence of God the Father, were of larger extent than the omnipresence of the Son of God (pardon me, that I am forced by an absurd adversary to speak absurdly), then would God the Father be where the Son is not, and so the Father and Son would be separated from each other.
As to what Mr. Clerke says next, That the ancient Doctors thought it not God the Father Who appeared of old to the Patriarchs and other holy men, “because they judged it could not consist with the most high and excessive prerogative of His attributes; and that not upon account of any indecency, as Dr. Bull speaks, nor because God is the Fountain of the Trinity. For how does a fountain relate to local motion, unless it be for the sake of Washing or drinking?” All blasphemous scoffing set aside with abomination, I answer, That those holy Fathers thought far otherwise; “For in their judgment, God the Father was never seen by any man, nor can be seen, not so much as by means of any assumed appearances. And having no principle from whence He is, He is subject to none; nor can be said to be sent by another, any more than to be born of another. On the contrary, the Son of God, in regard of His being born of the Father, does certainly upon that account receive all His authority from the Father; nor is it any more dishonour to Him to be sent by the Father, than to be born of Him. He is of the Father, by Him the Father made all things that are in the world, and moreover in His due time made Himself known to the world by Him. In the most holy Trinity, though there is no natural disparity betwixt the Father and the Son, there is yet undoubtedly a certain order, according to which the Father is the Principle and Head of the Son. Which order would be inverted, if the administration of things were from the Son by the Father.”
P. 114. Mr. Clerke treats of Athenagoras, and the remarks I have made in relation to Athenagoras, but like himself, so confusedly, that I confess I know not how, or what I am to answer. The truth is, sophister-like, he takes refuge and shelter in his confusion, whereby to hide himself from the strokes of his adversary. I beseech the impartial reader to look into what I have produced out of Athenagoras, in the Defence of the Nicene Faith, [Sect. 2. c. 4. § 9.] where I have fully shewn the most learned Father, to have all along owned the consubstantiality of the Son of God, as also of the Holy Ghost. To which Mr. Clerke returns not one word of answer. Let him consult also the testimonies I have brought from Athenagoras, for the eternity of the Son of God. [Defence, Sect. 3. c. 5.] And let us see what answer is given to them. He says, “Doctor Bull cites page 10. Ļ_____ _______ _____ __ _____, ___ __ _________, that ‘He is the first Offspring to the Father, not as made.’ The first Offspring, which words contradict the coeternity of the Son, upon a twofold account, that is to say, both as He is the first, and as He is the begotten Son.” But it is intolerable to think this sophister should have the confidence to urge Athenagoras’s words against the eternity of the Son, which Athenagoras himself observes expressly, to have no manner of repugnancy to His coeternity. “We say,” says Athenagoras, “that the _____, the Word, or the Son of God, is the first Offspring of the Father, not as made.” What has Mr. Clerke to say to this? He says, “Why then does Dr. Bull allege this place? It was for the sake of these following words, ___ __ _________, ‘not as a thing that was made,’ in which clause almost all his argumentation lies; other things are only by way of exposition, and to avoid the darts of the adversaries. Yet howsoever he often boasts of the force of this word, all its force will be blown away with one gentle blast. I acknowledge _________ in this place to signify ‘made’. No doubt it does. But presently after Athenagoras himself explains his own meaning; telling us he speaks of such a making, as is that of all material things; and of the Angels, who, as Dr. Bull observes, he says were made. [P. 27.] Would Athenagoras therefore have the Word not to be made, that is, as the other creatures, none of which are the product of the Divine Essence?” But what man in his wits can believe a most learned writer, as it is evident Athenagoras was, could be so exceedingly foolish as to imagine anything begotten of the very Essence of God, could be any way made, or be a creature? It is an undoubted axiom, that whatsoever is begotten of God, that is, of the very Essence of God, must necessarily be God. But the sense of Athenagoras in these words, “not as made,” is most manifest, namely, that the Word, or the Son of God, when He proceeded from God by His own power to make all things, was not then made, nor did begin to exist. How does he prove this? “For,” says he, “from the beginning, God, Who is an eternal mind, had in Himself the _____, ‘the Word, or Reason,’ since He is eternally rational.” Where he infers the eternal existence of the _____, from its eternal and necessary cause, the reason and understanding of God. As to that sense which Mr. Clerke would fix upon these words (that the Word was potentially in God, with respect to the essential reason and wisdom of God, as an attribute, not as a distinct Person), how great an absurdity this is, I have shewn at large, Defence of the Nicene Faith, the chapter above-mentioned, § 5, whither I refer the reader.
P. 117. Mr. Clerke thus attacks me, upon the account of this place of Athenagoras, and my explication of it. “Dr. Bull is plainly forced, I say is forced, to set up a twofold generation of the Son, before the world was created (a thing unheard of, and new to those of his own persuasion), the one properly said to be from eternity, whereby to defend the opinion of the modern Divines; the other metaphorical, in a production that was a little before the making of the world, lest he should forsake the Fathers of the first ages, and offend them all to a man. Of which two generations, Dr. Bull is deservedly to be accounted the inventor.” I answer, Were it true that I first invented that distinction, there was no reason why I should either be ashamed or repent of it; for it is of great use for explaining the sense of some of the ancient Fathers, who have hitherto been thought, even by learned men, to favour the Arian opinion. Besides, this distinction of a twofold generation of the _____, or Son of God, before the world was made, as is worthy to be observed, gives a light to those places of the ancient Doctors, that the Son was begotten of God, according to the good pleasure of the Father, by His will and counsel. Which sayings of theirs, Divines take a great deal of fruitless pains to reconcile with the eternal generation of the Son. Those sayings are doubtless to be understood of the second generation, improperly so called, wherein the Word, when God the Father thought fit, was as it were born of Him, and went out to frame the universe. In the meantime it is certain, that all those Fathers who speak thus, did Acknowledge another generation, or production of the Son, properly so called, which was both eternal and necessary. It is really impossible (as I have otherwhere observed from Athanasius) that God can rightly be conceived so one, as that He is, or ever was, but one Person, seeing it is necessary that God Who is an eternal mind, have His Word in and with Himself, and not only as to His humanity, but as living and subsisting, inasmuch as from His being a living and subsisting Word, He is a Person; and because He is the Word from the Father, He is a Divine Person distinct from the Father; that in respect of this eternal generation or production, the Word may be called the Son of God, some of the ancients have rightly observed. So Tertullian, “Every original is a parent, whatever proceeds from such original is its offspring.” With Tertullian agrees Athanasius, in his fifth Oration against the Arians, “For if the Word is not God, they would deservedly deny Him to be the Son of God; but if He be of God, how come they not to see that that which is of another thing, is the Son of that from whence it is.” And of this distinction I have had very great authors, Zeno of Verona, the Emperor Constantine, the great Athanasius, Rupertus Tuitiensis, and even the Nicene Fathers themselves, as I have copiously and perspicuously shewn. [Defence, Sect. 3. c. 9.] What he farther produces out of Theophilus of Antioch, Novatian, etc. discoursing the same things about the generation of the Son of God that Athenagoras does, will be fully explained by what has been said of Athenagoras.
P. 130. Mr. Clerke comes to that place of Irenaeus, [L. ii. c. 4.] where he attributes to Christ an ignorance of the day and hour of the last judgment. To which place I have largely answered, [Defence, Sect. 2. c. 5. § 8.] where I have freely confessed, these words of Irenaeus appear at the first sight to ascribe ignorance to the Son of God, and even where He is most properly the Son of God. I add here, that the holy Father was hurried on by an excessive zeal and earnestness, in opposing the wicked Gnostics, to speak incautiously, as it sometimes happens to very good men; but that Irenaeus did really believe, that Christ as God was ignorant of anything, none can imagine who knew Irenaeus, or has attentively read his works. No one ever more clearly asserted the most absolute Divinity of the Son, equal to that of the Father, than Irenaeus. And even in that same chapter, where he attributes that ignorance to Christ, he says expressly, as I have observed, “That the Spirit of our Saviour, which is in Him, searches all things, even the deep things of God.” Where by the Spirit which is in our Saviour, I have proved from two places of Irenaeus, that His divine Nature is denoted. And it is but in vain that Mr. Clerke answers, “The words cited by Dr. Bull seem plainly by the places cited in the margin by Gallasius, namely, 1 Cor. 2:10, and 12:4, to refer to the Holy Ghost.” It is true those texts do speak of the Holy Ghost also, the third Person of the Divinity, searching all things. But what is this to the present case? The question is, what Irenaeus intends here, by the Spirit of our Saviour, that is in Him. And we plead that he intended the divine Nature in Christ according to His divine hypostasis, as was not only his own manner of speaking, but that of other ancient Doctors, and even of the Scripture in divers places; as I have shewn elsewhere. [See Defence of the Nicene Faith, Sect. 1. c. 2. §. 5.] The reader may also find other of my annotations on this passage of Irenaeus, in the chapter above cited.
P. 133. The most vain man makes a great noise with, and values himself much upon, another passage of Irenaeus that I had not taken notice of. “To my gigantic argument,” says he, “out of Irenaeus, from the dominion of the Son over the Holy Ghost, Dr. Bull answers nothing; perhaps he overlooked that place, though I cannot but wonder how he should do it.” But this giant is easily bumbled. The passage of Irenaeus this trifler means, is to be found l. iii. c. 6; and runs thus according to Feuardentius’s edition. “Wherefore I also call upon Thee, O Lord God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob (Who is also Israel), Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, O God! Who through the multitude of Thy mercies hut been gracious to us, in vouchsafing us the knowledge of Thee, Who hut made heaven and earth, Who rulest over all, Who art the only true God, over Whom there is no other God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Dominatione quoque dominaris Spiritus S. ‘Thou also rulest by the dominion of the Holy Ghost.” Upon which words Feuardentius has this remark, “The Old Book reads it thus, Dominationem quoque donas Spiritus S., ‘Thou givest also the government of the Holy Ghost.’ Perhaps it should be read Donationem, ‘the gift of the Holy Ghost’. Whether you read it the one way, or the other, you have here a confirmation of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, eternal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son, and His majesty and dominion, against the old and later Arians.” O rare! Feuardentius establishes the eternal Divinity of the Holy Ghost, from this very place, from whence Mr. Clerke would prove the Holy Ghost to be, according to Irenaeus, a mere creature put under the dominion of the Son of God. But the true reading is, Donationem quoque donas Spiritus Sancti, “Thou also givest the gift of the Holy Ghost,” [Dominationem quoque dona Spiritus Sancti, i.e. Fac ut per Christum dominetur etiam in cordibus nostris Spiritus Sanctus, says D. Renat Massuet.] as Feuardentius partly acknowledges, and my most learned and kind friend, J. Erneste Grabe, has manifestly proved from the collation of Manuscripts, in his most accomplished edition of the works of Irenaeus, whose annotation upon the place is well worth your reading through. I profess this most unjust calumny of Mr. Clerke against this holy Martyr, is intolerable. For I have demonstrated Irenaeus, from the most convincing testimonies, alleged out of himself, to have constantly owned the most absolute Divinity of the Holy Ghost. [Defence, sect. 2. c. 5. §.9.]
P. 135. At length Mr. Clerke comes to the conclusion of his work, such as well suits with the rest of his performance. “Now,” says he, “let us cast our eyes back to what has been said; what mighty service has Dr. Bull done his cause, by citing about thirty Fathers, scarce half of whom have left us any undoubtedly genuine writings, though out of as many thousand Bishops, to shew the Catholic doctrine that is the opinion of the generality of Christians from the Apostles’ times and downwards. Let us hear what Eusebius says of the Bishops [Eccl. Hist. l. v. c. 22.]; Victor (at Rome) succeeded Eleutherius; at Alexandria, Demetrius succeeded Julian; at Antioch, the eighth from the Apostles was Serapion; Theophilus then presided at Caesarea; Narcissus at Jerusalem, Bachylus at Corinth, and Polycrates at Ephesus, were of great note amongst the Bishops. Besides that, in many other places we hear of famous Priests about that time.” I answer, That I have cited no writings of the ancients, for the Catholic faith, which if they were called in question, I have not first proved by solid arguments, to belong of right to those authors whose names they bear. Had Eusebius been silent in the case, who could possibly doubt that there were many famous Doctors in the Church? but what good does this do Mr. Clerke and his party? It seems he would have his reader suspect all those, or at least the greater part of them, to have been constantly of opinion with the Unitarians, in the question concerning the Person of Christ; than which nothing is falser. I have proved in my dispute with Zuicker, that the Catholic opinion concerning Christ prevailed in. the Church of Jerusalem, the mother of all other Churches, from the Apostles to the time of Adrian, when that Church was scattered abroad. I have proved by unexceptionable witnesses, Hegesippus and Irenaeus, that the same doctrine had descended by uninterrupted tradition, in all other Churches, from the beginning to their times. But Mr. Clerke proceeds, “And the same Eusebius,” says he, “makes mention of many Unitarians, who were near the days of the Apostles, and boasted of the Apostles and their successors, as for the most part on their side, before Victor; and that there were such as were esteemed great philosophers and mathematicians, whose names he recites, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodosion, Artemon, Paulus Samosatenus, Natalis, Beryllus, Theodotus, Asclepiodotus, Hermophilus, Apollonides, etc.”
Certainly, were not Mr. Clerke past all shame, he would never have dared to put these infamous names in the balance against those holy Doctors and Martyrs of the Catholic Church, whose writings I have appealed to. Some of them have apostatized from the Christian faith to Judaism; the rest were most desperate heretics, except Natalis and Beryllus, who though they had for some time embraced the heresy of denying our Saviour’s Divinity, yet both at length returned to the Communion of the Catholic Church, and died in it. All the rest, I say, were condemned by the universal Church as heretics. Mr. Clerke had said above, he wished his soul might be amongst better Divines than the Trinitarians are. And are these his better Divines? The Lord have mercy upon him!
Thus at last Mr. Clerke finishes his discourse; “Now that I may at length conclude, though I should grant Dr. Bull that all his testimonies were of the greatest force, yet would they not be satisfactory to us who have known the mystery of the great Apostasy; but we should still appeal from the ante Nicene Fathers to the Apostles.” And in what manner Mr. Clerke, and his companions here in England, have appealed to the Apostles and the Scriptures of the New Testament, we all very well know. The places of Holy Scripture brought by us for the Catholic faith, though the clearest that can be, they either wrest intolerably, or question their authority, or perhaps utterly reject it. I could confirm what I say with instances, which would make every good man’s ears tingle. But I will shut up these my animadversions, with a serious admonition to my readers, especially to the candidates of Divinity, in the words of the Apostle St. Peter, in his second Epistle, the last chapter and the end of that chapter, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
[N.B. The preceding Discourse is a translation from the Latin original of the Author, which will be found at the end of the sixth Volume of Dr. Burton’s edition. Oxford, 1827.]
Discourse 5. – Concerning the first covenant, and the state of man before the fall, according to scripture, and the sense of the primitive doctors of the catholic church.
Written at the request of a Friend.
[The beginning of this MS. being wanting, that which is included between the two crotchets is added to supply the introduction, being extracted from the author’s own writings.]
In all the transactions between God and mankind, some promises have ever been condescended to on God’s part, and some conditions have ever been required on our side, in order to obtain and preserve His favour. So it was in the state of innocence, as appears from the very original law given to man in Gen. 2:16–17; which was not established only with a threatening, but with a promise also annexed; and consequently was more than a mere law. So it continued after the fall, as is undeniable from those most remarkable words of God to Cain, recorded in Gen. 4:7, and from the constant manner of God’s proceeding with the Patriarchs and others in the Old Testament. But then it ought nevertheless to be observed, that besides the seeds of natural religion sown in man’s mind at the creation, he was also endowed with certain supernatural gifts and powers, in which his perfection chiefly consisted, and without which his natural powers were of themselves insufficient to the attainment of an heavenly immortality; and, consequently, that the law of nature as considered now in fallen man, without Divine revelation, and without any supernatural assistance, is much less able to confer the heavenly immortality and bliss upon them that live up to it. Since both from Scripture, and the consentient testimony of the ancient Catholic writers, it is plain, as I have elsewhere shewed, [Appendix ad Animad. xvii. § 2, &c.] that there was a covenant of life made with man in his state of innocence, and not (as some pretend) only a law imposed upon him; that this covenant was by the transgression of the protoplast made void both to him and his posterity; that all his posterity, as such, were thereby wholly excluded from the promise of eternal life made in that covenant, and consequently subjected to a necessity of death without hope of any resurrection; that, as such, they are only under the obligation of the law of nature, and the dictates of common reason; that, this law is not a law of perfect obedience, or a rule of perfection; that it hath not the reward of eternal life annexed; and that there is no covenant of life eternal, which God ever entered into with the posterity of fallen Adam, but that only which is confirmed and ratified in Christ, the “second Adam”; and which is by consequence the very same with the Gospel itself.
But because from what I have already written on this head, it may not be sufficiently evident to all, what the nature of this covenant of life eternal was, which God made with man in his state of integrity, and what were the means proportioned to it in order to the end, I shall readily take the pains to explain the sense of the Catholic Church hereupon, in which I readily concur and acquiesce; and I would have it to be accounted as my own. That there was then such a covenant made with man by God, cannot doubt in the least. I am not ignorant that the school of Socinus (which taketh too] [Here the Manuscript in the Bishop’s own hand begins.] great a liberty of interpreting Scripture against the consent of the Catholic Church) flatly denies it, affirming the law given to Adam to have been a mere law, established only with a threatening, and no covenant, or law with a promise annexed. But the contrary is most evident. For, 1. The prohibition given to Adam, concerning the not eating of the tree of knowledge, is ushered in (which very few interpreters take any exact notice of)* with this express donation or grant of God, that he might freely eat of all the rest of the trees in paradise, the tree of life not excepted. Now it is certain the tree of life was so called, because it was either a sacrament and divine sign, or else a natural means of immortality; that is, because he that should have used it, would (either by the natural virtue of the tree itself continually repairing the decays of nature, or else by the power of God) have lived for ever, as God Himself plainly assures us. [Gen. 3:22–24.] So that the sense of this whole legislation to Adam is apparently this: “If thou shalt obey My commandment in not eating of the tree of knowledge, thou mayest continue in paradise, and freely enjoy all the other delights thereof, not being debarred from the tree of life itself, which thou mayest eat of, and live forever: but if thou transgress this My commandment, in eating of the tree of knowledge, thou shalt certainly die.” 2. The very comminution itself, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” manifestly implies a promise. This consequence (whatever some idle wits have fancied to the contrary) is most firm:, God threateneth death to man, if he eat of the forbidden fruit; therefore He promiseth life if he do not eat. [Supposing the observance of the law natural, which man had before received, even in his very creation, and which also obliged him to obey every positive precept that God should give him.] For how insignificant would, have been the threatening of death to man’s eating of the. forbidden fruit, if he should certainly and necessarily have died, whether he had eaten or not?
*[This was long ago observed by Theophilus Antiochen. 1. ii. ad Aulolyc. p. 101. [c. 21. p. 366.] where, speaking of the law given to the first man, he hath these words, __________ ____ _Ļ_ Ļ_____ ___ ___Ļ__ _______, ________ ___ _Ļ_ ___ ___ ____, _____ __ __ ___ _____ ___ ___ _______ __________ ____ __ _________.]
However, that Adam should not have died if he had not sinned, is so manifestly the doctrine of the Scriptures, and of the Church of God, both before and since Christ our Saviour’s. appearance in the flesh, that Pelagius of old, and Socinus in, this latter age, are justly to be esteemed the most impudent of mortals for daring to call it into question. Yet because we live, in an age wherein too many take the confidence ______ _______, to shake the foundations of religion; and he is laughed at as guilty of a shameful petitio principii, that shall offer to beg any common principle of Christianity, even in a discourse with such as profess themselves Christians; I shall therefore (although I have already suggested such arguments as may satisfy the equal reader) give you a full state and resolution of this question in a few words of Grotius, in his approved book De Satisfactione Christi, [Cap. i. p. 27–31.] where he thus diacourseth: “For the right understanding of the state of this question; we deny not, that man, when he was created, was earthly, who had a certain vital power, but no vivific power, as Paul teacheth us [1 Cor. 15:45–46.]; and so that the condition of his body was such, that unless God supported it, it would have perished. But yet we stiffly maintain, that in the decree of God he should not have died, if he had persisted in innocence. This the very nobility and eminence of that creature evinceth, as being alone said to be created after the image of God; that is, with understanding and liberty of will, which is the foundation of his dominion over the other creatures; for he cannot be lord of other things, who is not lord of his own actions. This excellency therefore above other creatures is an argument, that in the creation of man there was designed more than a temporary use of him. But now what is more clear than that voice of God? ‘If thou eatest thereof thou shalt die.’ The act of death is here meant, whether that should be violent or otherwise. Therefore this very thing, to die, would not have happened to man, if he had not happened to sin. No less clear and general is that of St. Paul, ‘The wages,’ that is the punishment, ‘of sin is death,’ [Rom. 6:23.] He had before said, ‘By sin death, and so death passed upon all men.’ He saith, ‘all men,’ therefore he speaks concerning the common end of all mankind. ‘By man,’ therefore, that is, by the act of man, ‘came death,’ and ‘by man, the resurrection of the dead. As in Adam all die’ (as many as die), ‘so also in Christ shall all be made alive,’* (as many as shall be made alive [1 Cor. 15:21–22.]). Who is there, that; reading the words themselves; doth not presently see that this place to the Corinthians exactly answers to that to the Romans? Such a death therefore is here meant, as is common to the posterity of Adam, and out of which they rise, whosoever do rise. Wherefore also comparing this place with that to the Romans, we say that this is meant of Adam as a sinner; for what is here said, ‘by man,’ he there saith, ‘by sin’. The animal condition of Adam is above twenty verses after touched on by the Apostle upon a quite different occasion: for here death is opposed to the resurrection; but there the qualities of the body, as at first created, and then as raised, are compared with each other; whereof the one had, with the natural possibility of dying, conjoined a possibility also of living through the favour of God: but the other shall have life itself after such a manner, that it shall have no natural possibility of dying at all. I cannot forbear here to add the notable testimony of the most excellent author of the Book of Wisdom, which, although it be not in the Hebrew canon, is yet of venerable antiquity, and was always had in esteem amongst Christians. Thus therefore he, ‘For God made not death: neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living. For He created all things, that they might have their being: and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth (for righteousness is immortal): but ungodly men with their works and words called it to them: for when they thought to have it their friend, they consumed to naught, and made a covenant with it, because they are worthy to take part with it.’ [Chapter 1:13–16. See Ecclesiasticus 25:24.] And presently after, ‘For God created man to be immortal, and made him the image of His own [Greek _________.] propriety. Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.’ [Chap. ii. 23, 24.] That the death here, which God is said not to have treated nor willed, to wit, with a will antecedent to sin, is to be understood of every kind of death, the ________ or ‘incorruption’ opposed thereunto sheweth, unto the hope whereof man is said to be created; and that hope is not obscurely intimated to have been part of the Divine image, or at least a consequent thereof. Now incorruption excludes every kind of death, whether violent or not. And what the Apostle said, that death entered by man and by sin, this author had no less truly said, that death entered by the envy of the devil. For all these speeches note the same fact, viz. the first sin of man committed by the suggestion of the devil. Nor is that any hindrance, that the author here notes a certain special effect of death in relation to the wicked. For death entering by the first sin, and having obtained a right over all men, doth receive a certain peculiar force by the grievous and continual sins of particular men; in which sense ‘sin’ is said to be ‘the sting of death.’ [1 Cor. 15:56.] Therefore they who dying are denied all passage to a better life, are justly called the confederates of death, or the yielding captives (dedititii), and the proper possession of death. It were most easy to demonstrate, if that were our business, that it was the constant opinion both of the Jews and Christians, that every kind of death whatsoever is the punishment of sin.” Thus far Grotius.
*[See Rom. 8:10–11. On which text St. Austin thus excellently discourseth. Puto quod non expositore, sed tantum lectore opus habet tam clara et aperta sententia. Corpus, inquit, mortuum est, non propter fragilitatem terrenam, quia de terrae pulvere factum est, sed propter peccatum; quid amplius quaerimus? Et vigilantissime non ait mortale; sed mortuum. Nam antequam mutetur in illam incorruptionem, quae in sanctorum resurrectione promittitur, poterat esse mortale, quamvis non moriturum, sicut hoc nostrum potest, ut ita dicam, esse aegrotabile, quamvis non aegrotaturum. Cujus enim caro est quae non aegrotare possit, etiamsi aliquando casu priusquam aegrotet occumbat? Sic et illud corpus jam erat mortale, quam mortalitatem fuerat absumptura mutatio in aeternam incorruptionem, si in homine justitia, id est, obedientia permaneret; sed ipstun mortale non est factum mortuum nisi propter peccatum. Quia vero illa in resurrectione futura mutatio, non solum nullam mortem quae facta est propter peccatum, sed nec mortalitatem habitura est, quam corpus animale habuit ante peccatum, non ait, qui suscitavit Jesum Christum a mortuis, vivificabit et mortua corpora vestra, cum supra dixisset, corpus mortuum, sed vivificabit, inquit, et mortalia corpora vestra, ut scilicet jam non solum non sint mortua, sed nec mortalia, cum animale resurget in spiritale, et mortale hoc induet immortalitatem, et absorbebitur mortale a vita. De Peccatorum Merit. et Remiss. c. Pelagianos, c. 4, 5.]
I know these irrefragable arguments were afterwards nibbled at by Crellius the successor of Socinus and Smalcius in the Chair at Cracovia; but the frivolous and plainly ridiculous exceptions of the heretic are abundantly refuted by the famous Rivet, (who in this question happily proved the _Ļ____Ļ_____ of Grotius,) upon the second chapter of Genesis [Exercit. 21.] whither I refer you for full satisfaction. I have dwelt the longer in asserting this great truth, that Adam should never have died if he had not sinned; because this foundation being once surely laid, it will appear that the whole superstructure of the Catholic doctrine concerning the state of man in his integrity, and concerning man’s fall by sin, which is to be measured by the former, is firmly built thereon: which is the reason why the Pelagians formerly, and the Socinians of late, have so strenuously opposed this verity. For let it be once granted, that man, if he had continued obedient, should have enjoyed an everlasting life, any man of reason, that shall more closely consider the matter, will presently collect, that this life should not, could not in any congruity be perpetuated in the earthly paradise, and therefore the man was in the design of God, after a certain period of time, to have been translated to a higher state, i.e. a celestial bliss. And from thence it will as readily follow, that man, being designed for such a supernatural end, must be supposed gradually at least to have been furnished by God with means proportioned thereunto, i.e. with certain supernatural gifts and powers, which we commonly call “original righteousness”: both which hypotheses you will see anon to have been the doctrine of the Catholic Church. In the meantime let us proceed in order.
It is questioned by some, whether Adam, besides this positive law given to him, had also another law implanted in him, which the Hebrews call “the statutes in the heart,” we “the law of nature.”* A man would think indeed, that no man in his wits should question this; yet Socinus not only questions, but flatly denies it, although the Remonstrants in their Apology (I know not with what design) endeavour to excuse and purge him from this error. But they wash the Ethiopian in vain; for any one that doubts may find this opinion professedly avowed and maintained by him in the third chapter of his Praelections. Besides, it is well known that Socinus taught that no man can by the light of nature (which it is certain he at least supposed to be the same in man before and since the fall) know that there is a God, and that this notion is due to God’s revealing Himself unto men. Nay, Episcopius himself, who penned that Apology of the Remonstrants, doth charge this error upon Socinus, and spends a learned and elaborate discourse in the refutation of it, so that I wonder he should so far forget himself. For if Socinus held, that no man can by the light of nature know that there is a God, then certainly he believed (or else maintained the grossest contradiction imaginable) that no man can by the mere light of nature discern any notion of religion whatsoever; seeing all notions of religion are manifestly founded on that first principle, that there is a God. This therefore is another famous specimen of the intolerable impudence of that heretic in contradicting both the Scriptures (which manifestly assert such a natural law [Rom. 1:19–20; and 2:12, 14–15.]), and also the common sense and experience of mankind. For the history of the world assureth us, that nulla gens tam barbara, “there is no nation so barbarous,” so debauched, but that therein are to be found some notions of a Deity, and of moral good and evil.
*[___ __ Ļ_____ _____ _______ ____ _______ _Ļ__ _______ ___ Ļ__’ ______ ____ __ _Ļ______ ___ __________. Sic Liturgia Clementis de Adamo. Const. Apost. viii. 12.]
That the protoplast, if he had done anything contrary to the dictate of this natural law, 1. e. of his reason, had sinned and been liable to punishment from God, no man that considers what he says will deny. The only question therefore remaining concerning this natural law, in reference to the positive law superadded, is this, Whether man’s right to immortality (and such a right we have already proved he had) was founded in this natural law, or in the positive law or covenant superadded? Or, to speak more plainly (if possible), Whether Adam by the observance of the law natural, if there had no positive law or covenant been superadded thereunto, could have challenged to himself a right of immortality? And this question (of great moment if well considered) will by any sober judgment be quickly resolved in the negative. For if immortality had been due to the observance of the law implanted in man from his creation, then certainly the legislation superadded, wherein that immortality was promised to man, no otherwise than upon the observance of the positive precept, would have been supervacaneous, and even absurd. In a word, the protoplast could have no right to immortality but what was founded in the gratuitous stipulation and covenant of God; or otherwise you must assert that Adam by his natural abilities could merit it. Now we read of no other stipulation or promise of life eternal made to Adam, but what is annexed to the positive law we have so long dwelt upon.
Paraeus, in his Commentary upon Gen. 2:7, propounds this question to be discussed, “Whether, how far, and when, Adam with the animal life received also a right of life eternal?” [An et quatenus et quando Adam cum animali vita etiam acceperit jus vitae aeternae?] And he truly says of it, Non est quaestio inanis, “It is no vain useless question.” But he that reads him will find (which I speak with the reservation of all due respect to the fume and learning of the writer) that he handles the question very perplexedly, which yet is very easily resolved upon the grounds already laid, premising only these two very easy explications, which nothing but the too much subtlety of the learned man could have rendered necessary.
1. That by “eternal life” in this question is meant “a never ending life of happiness” (whether this life should have been continued in the earthly paradise, or only have commenced there, and been perpetuated in a higher estate, is an enquiry to be resolved anon by the judgment of the Church, and very good reasons confirming the same). 2. That by “right” is to be understood not an absolute, fixed, immutable right, for it is certain Adam had no such, for then he could never have lost it; but jus pendens, “a right depending” upon a condition to be performed. These things being premised, an answer to each member of the threefold question is easily given. First, as to the question, whether Adam had a right to eternal life? it is answered, He had a right to a never-ending life of happiness; for we have already proved, that if he had not sinned, he should never have died. Secondly, as to the quatenus, or quomodo, how far Adam had a right, or what manner of right he had to life eternal? it is answered, He had no absolute, fixed, or immutable right, but only a right dependent upon a condition to be performed. Lastly, as to the quando, when Adam received this right? it is answered, When he received the promise or covenant, and not before. Adam indeed was before ________ capable of a blessed immortality (as you shall hear the Fathers speaking anon), but a right to this immortality he had not till God made it over to him by covenant. In this covenant of grace and favour (for so in confidence of the premises I shall be bold to call it), as the sanction did assure Adam of a reward not due to his nature, viz. a blessed immortality; so the precept dictated a religion corresponding thereunto. For this positive law (whatsoever some Divines are pleased to say of it, I suppose, oratorio more to exaggerate the sin of Adam (which may be proved heinous enough without this circumstance), that it was praeceptum facillimum) did lay no small restraint upon man’s natural (and so antecedently to the precept) lawful appetites. And that first upon his sensitive appetite. For the tree that was forbidden him was a mighty temptation to the eye, and therefore it is said, [Gen. 3:6.] to be “a desire,” i.e. most desirable “to the eyes,” more alluring than the rest of the trees in that garden of pleasure, having indeed no rival but the tree of life [Although that seems not to have been of so inviting an appearance, the benefit and necessity thereof sufficiently recommending it to man’s use.]; which, together with it, was placed in the center of paradise, and therefore much more exceeding any tempting delight which the earth impoverished by Adam’s sin now affords. This tree Adam must approach to and behold, as often as he had (for his necessity) a recourse to the tree of life; but touch it, taste it, he must not, under pain of death: and this was no small trial. But moreover the restraint laid upon our first parents in this one instance was, no doubt, a general intimation and hint given them, to call them from the animal to the divine life. For hereby they were admonished, that their felicity did not consist so much in those earthly pleasures, wherewith paradise abounded (for then God would not have bound up their hands from touching the most delightful tree in that rich plantation), as in virtue and obedience to God, wherein if they persisted, a happiness greater than all this awaited them. But, 2. This law did, in my judgment, lay a far greater restraint upon man’s rational appetite. For the tree forbidden was by God Himself styled “a tree of knowledge,” and it was a motive that seduced Eve, that the fruit of it was good to make one wise. The desire of knowing more is itself natural, and so lawful; and there is no desire more strong and forcible in man fallen, who is in any degree exalted above sense. To such a one it is more easy to allay the titillation of concupiscence than the itch of curiosity; nay, this busy, prying, inquisitive creature, is oft times observed to quit all the pleasures of sense, to forget his very meat and drink, to macerate his flesh with study in the pursuit of some new discovery, which, when he hath made, you shall hear him loudly proclaiming his ______ and applauding himself no less than if he were become master of the wealth of both the Indies; so great is man’s thirst after knowledge. But this desire Adam is commanded to repress and keep within its due bounds, i.e. to acquiesce for the present in those measures of knowledge he had, to content himself with that blessed simplicity, which, as the child of God he enjoyed, and therewith a happy freedom, and sported himself in paradise, as Clemens Alexandrinus* elegantly expresseth it, not hunting after new inventions, [Eccles. 7:29.] but waiting on God in the way of prayer and obedience, for an increase of all useful knowledge, to be dispensed as it should seem good to the Divine wisdom. This precept then to Adam was a bridle to the deliciousness of his sense, and a check to the curiosity of his reason, a great experiment of his self-denial in both, and in general a call to the Divine life; and so no such slight and easy precept, as some have fancied, either mistaking the first natural constitution of man, or not weighing rightly the nature of the precept itself. These seem to me to cast unawares a slur upon the Divine wisdom, which was pleased to lay the main stress of the whole covenant made with the first man upon this one precept, and to suspend the great reward promised upon the performance thereof. St. Augustine’s great wit easily observed this, and therefore he calls this precept, perfectionis praeceptum, [De Gen. cont. Manich. ii. 8.] “a precept of perfection,” and tells us withal, that Adam was upon the receiving of this precept advanced above his natural animal condition to a spiritual state, and that he received the same, ut consummmaretur, “that he might be perfected.” Not but that he thought, that the protoplast was from his very creation itself designed to this spiritual state, and furnished with endowments accordingly (for it was certainly St. Austin’s opinion, that Adam was creatus in gratia, “created in grace,” as the schools speak), but that upon the receiving of this positive law, he was actually called to this estate, whereunto he was before designed, and to the exercise of those endowments, wherewith he before was furnished.
*[Admonit. ad Gent. edit. Heinsii, p. 69. [c. 11. p. 86.] _ Ļ_____, ___ __ Ļ________, _Ļ____ _________, _Ļ__ Ļ______ __ ___ ____ – Ļ_______ _Ļ________ _ Ļ___. ____________ _Ļ_______ – _ __’ _Ļ______ _____Ļ__, etc. Before him Theophilus Antiochenus enquiring into the reasons why God forbade man to eat of the tree of knowledge, gives this for one, _Ļ_ Ļ______ ______ ________ _Ļ____ ___ ________ _________ ___ _____Ļ__ __Ļ________ _____ ___ _____ _____, etc. [l. ii. c. 25. p. 387.] This seems to be the sense of that place in Ecclesiastes. Grot. in locum. Vide Phil Jud. de Mund. Opif.]
And this brings us to the very head of our enquiry, concerning the first covenant, and the state of man before the fall. The Church of God then (if we may gather its judgment from the writings of the most approved Doctors thereof in their several ages) hath constantly believed and asserted these two things.
1. That paradise was to Adam a type of heaven; and that the never-ending life of happiness promised to our first parents, if they had continued obedient, and grown up to perfection under that economy wherein they were placed, should not have been continued in the earthly paradise, but only have commenced there, and been perpetuated in a higher state; that is to say, after such a trial of their obedience, as should seem sufficient to the Divine wisdom, they should have been translated from earth to heaven.
2. (Which is indeed a consequent of the former hypothesis) That our first parents, besides the seeds of natural virtue and religion sown in their minds, in their very creation, and besides the natural innocence and rectitude, wherein also they were created, were endowed with certain gifts and powers supernatural, infused by the Spirit of God; and that in these gifts their perfection consisted. Because I see these two hypotheses are by many very learned men with too great boldness questioned, and they seem to me the two main pillars of the Catholic doctrine concerning original sin, I shall give you an ample demonstration of them out of the writings of the ancients; and the many testimonies to be produced, you will, I presume, read, examine, and consider with as much patience at least, as I myself underwent the great labour of collecting them.
I begin with the first hypothesis, That paradise was to Adam a type of heaven; and that the never-ending life of happiness promised to our first parents, if they had continued obedient, and grown up to perfection under that economy wherein they were placed, should not have been continued in the earthly paradise, but only have commenced there, and been perpetuated in a higher state; that is to say, after such a trial of their obedience, as should seem sufficient to the Divine wisdom, they should have been translated from earth to heaven. Which you will find confirmed by the following testimonies.
1. Justin Martyr, [Apol. ii, p. 58. [Apol. i. 10. p. 48.]] speaking of the creation of the world, delivers not his own private opinion, but the common sense of the Christians in his time, in these words, “We have been taught that He, (viz. God,) being good, did in the beginning make all things out of the unformed matter for the sake of men, who, if by their works they rendered themselves worthy of His acceptance, we presume should be favoured with His friendship, and should reign together with Him, being made incorruptible and impassible.”*
*[___ Ļ____ ___ _____ ______ ____ ____________ _____ __ _______ ____ __’ _____Ļ___ ____________ __ ___ ______ __ _______ __________ _______ __’ _____ _______, ___ ___’ _____ __________ ____________ Ļ____________ _______________, _________ ___ _Ļ_____ __________.]
2. Tatian, the scholar of Justin Martyr, in his Oration to the Greeks, [P. 152. [c. 13. p. 255.]] speaking of our first parents, and shewing that the Spirit of God was familiarly conversant with their souls whilst they retained their integrity, hath these words; “The soul, having obtained a conjunction with the Divine Spirit, is not left helpless, but ascends to those regions whither it is led by the same Spirit: for the seat or habitation hereof is above, but the generation of the other is from beneath.”* The same Tatian in the same Oration, [P. 146. [c. 7. p. 249.]] speaks of the same matter more clearly thus, “For the heavenly Word, the Spirit begotten of the Father, etc. made man the image of immortality, in imitation of Him that begat him: that as immortality is with God, so after the same manner man, having received a portion of God, (viz. the Divine Spirit,) might become also immortal.”** Where he expressly speaks of that immortality which is with God, and which far exceeds that pendulous (if I may so speak) and adventitious immortality, which Adam had in the earthly paradise; and he affirms that the protoplast, if he had retained and cherished the divine portion of the Spirit given to him, should at length have attained such immortality.
*[________ __ _________ [____] ___ ___ _____ _________, ___ _____ __________ _________ __ Ļ___ _Ļ__ _____ ______ _____ __ _______ ___ ___ ___ _____ ___ __ __________, ___ __ _______ _____ _ _______.]
**[_____ ___ _ _Ļ________ ______ _______ _Ļ_ ___ ______, ___ _____ __ ___ _______ ________, ____ ___ ___ ___________ _____ ______ _______, ______ ___ _________ ___ _____Ļ__ _Ļ_______ ___ __Ļ__ _ ________ Ļ___ __ ___, ___ _____ ___Ļ__ ____ ______ _____Ļ__ _________, ___ ___ __ ________.]
3. Irenaeus, the auditor of Polycarp, who was the disciple of St. John, frequently delivers the same doctrine; his constant and everywhere repeated opinion being this, that we recover the same happiness in the second Adam which we had lost in the first. Yet I shall give you some particular testimonies out of him also. In the very beginning of the twenty-eighth chapter of his fourth book, [[c. 14. p. 243.]] having immediately before told us, “That the friendship of God grants immortality to them that come unto Him” [Amicitiam Dei immortalitatis esse condonatricem iis, qui aggrediuntur eam.]; he goes on thus, “Therefore in the beginning God formed Adam, not because He needed man, but that He might have an object, whereon to place His bounty, etc. Our service to God doth not give anything to Him, nor doth God need man’s obedience, but He gives life and incorruption, and ETERNAL GLORY to those that follow and obey Him.”* And presently after, “The Lord hath formed and prepared us for this very end, that whilst we remain with Him, we should partake of His glory. And so also from the beginning He made man for His own bounty.”**
*[ Igitur initio non quasi indigens Deus hominis plasmavit Adam, sed ut haberet in quem collocaret sua beneficia, etc. Servitus erga Deum Deo quidem nihil praestat, nec opus est Deo humano obsequio: ipse autem sequentibus et servientibus ei vitam et incorruptelam et gloriam aeternam attribuit.]
**[Dominus formavit et ad hoc praeparavit nos, ut dum sumus cum eo, participemus gloriae ejus. Sic et Deus ab initio hominem quidem plasmavit propter suam munificentiam.]
4. Theophilus, the sixth Bishop of Antioch after the Apostles, [Lib. ii. ad Autolyc. p. 101. (c. 24. p. 366.]] “God translated him (Adam) from the earth, out of which he was taken, into paradise, administering to him matter or occasion of proficiency; that increasing and being made perfect, he might at length be canonized or consecrated, and so ascend into heaven itself.”* Where, speaking to the Gentiles, he describes the designed translation of Adam from paradise to heaven, after the manner of their _Ļ_______, or consecration of an hero into the number of the gods, or celestial inhabitants.
*[________ __ _____ (____) _ ____ __ ___ ___, __ __ ________, ___ ___ Ļ_________, ______ ____ _______ Ļ____Ļ__, _Ļ__ _______ ___ _______ _________, ___ __ ___ ____ ___________, _____ ___ ___ ___ _______ _____.]
To the same purpose he speaks a little after [P. 103. [c. 27. p. 368.]]; “Therefore He made him (Adam) neither immortal nor mortal, but, as we said before, [(P. 101.)] capable of either state, that keeping the commandment of God, he might gradually proceed unto, and by way of reward obtain immortality from Him, and so be consecrated or canonized.” [Stromat. vi. p. 662, 663. [c. 12. p. 788.]]
5. Clemens of Alexandria,* to this question of certain heretics in his time (whether Adam was made perfect or imperfect? if imperfect, how the work of the perfect God came to be imperfect? but if perfect, how he happened to transgress the commandment of God?) thus answers, “Let them understand even from us, that he was not made perfect in his constitution, but apt to receive (perfect) virtue: for it is no small matter for man to be made apt or disposed to (perfect) virtue and the enjoyment thereof. But he would have us to be saved of ourselves.”* Where he plainly enough teacheth, that Adam was from the beginning not indeed made perfect, but yet endowed with the capacity (if I may so speak) whereby he might arrive to perfect virtue, aid so to that eternal salvation which accompanies it. He explains his meaning more clearly presently after in pursuance of his answer to the same question in these words, “They are ignorant of the mysteries of God, that God created man to immortality, and made him the image of His own propriety; according to which propriety of Him that knoweth all things, he who is endowed with knowledge, and just and holy, doth by wisdom strive to attain unto the measure of the perfect age.” ** And therefore in another place, speaking of the end to which in the gracious design of God man was at first created, he tells us, that he was “made for the contemplation of heaven, and a plant truly heavenly.” [Admon. ad Gent. p. 63. [p. 80] _Ļ_ ___ _______ _________ ____, _____ ________ __ ______.] Yet afterwards, in the same book, [P. 69. [c. 11. p. 86.]] he thus writes, “O mystical miracle! The Lord is bowed down, and man is risen; and he that fell from paradise receives a greater reward of his obedience, even heaven.”*** But these things agree very well together. For Clemens meant, that Adam was in possession only of the earthly paradise, and that from thence he fell; not denying in the mean while, but that if he had persisted in obedience, he should have been advanced to a higher felicity. And therefore others of the Fathers speak often after the same manner, whose most manifest opinion yet it is, that Adam, if he had not sinned, should have arrived to a celestial beatitude.
*[____ ___ ________ _____ (____) _Ļ______, ____ ___ ______ ____ _____ _Ļ___ Ļ___________, ________ __________ ___ ____ _Ļ_ __ ___ _________, _______ ___ _______ ___ ____, ______ _________ Ļ__’ _____ ___ _________ ___ _______ ____. [lege ___ __ ____ ed. Benedict.]
**[__________ ___ ___ Ļ__’ ____, ___ _______ ____ ___ __________ ___ _______, Ļ___ __ __ ___________ ___ ______ _Ļ_________ ________ ___ __ Ļ__ _Ļ_ ___ ______ _________ _Ļ________ Ļ___ ___ ______ ______ ____ __ __ ____ _____ ________ ________.]
*[Ĺ ________ ________! ________ ___ _ ______, ______ __ _____Ļ___ ___ _ __ ___ Ļ_________ Ļ____ ______ _Ļ_____ _____ ________ _Ļ_________.]
6. Tertullian [De Poenitent. cap. xii.] tells us, that Adam was “by confession or repentance restored to his paradise” [Exomologesi restitutus in paradisum suum.]; manifestly shewing, that Adam was upon his repentance, by the mercy of the second covenant established in Christ the Mediator, restored to the same happiness, which he was designed to in the first covenant, and which by the violation thereof he had lost. This he expressly declares to be his opinion in his second book against Marcion, [C. 4.] where, speaking of the creation of Adam, he tells us, That God in His goodness having designed man for the knowledge of Himself, did, before He made him, first prepare an habitation for him, even the great fabric of the visible world. “That in the great fabric, as in a lesser, he might give a proof or essay of his virtue and proficiency, and so be advanced from the good of God, that is, the great habitation, to God’s best, that is, the greater habitation.” [Ut in magna tanquam in minore proluderet atque proficeret, et ita de bono Dei, id est, de magno, ad optimum quoque ejus, id est, ad majus habitaculum promoveretur.]
7. Methodius (who is supposed to have flourished in the year of our Lord 255) [According to the Latin translation in the Orthodoxograph. 8. Patrum, p. 100.] in his book entitled, Concerning the Things which have happened from the Beginning of the World, etc. about the beginning thereof, discoursing of the fall of our first parents by the temptation of the devil, hath these words; “The devil seeing himself banished out of heaven, yet remaining still in great power, bent his designs to displease God, and in all things to oppose Him. And because he saw the first man, to wit, Adam, placed with his wife in the earthly paradise, as in a place of pleasure, graced with innocence, and lord of all the beasts, fowls, and fishes, and withal, THAT HE WAS TO POSSESS THOSE HEAVENLY SEATS which he himself with his adherents had by pride lost, he was greatly troubled, and envying his happiness, designed to weaken, yea and utterly to destroy him.”*
*[Videns antem diabolus se expulsum e coelo, in magna tamen potestate relictum, cogitavit quomodo posset displicere Deo, et in omnibus ipsi contrariari. Et quia vidit primum hominem, Adam scilicet, cum sua uxore in terrestri paradiso collocatum, scil. in locum voluptatis, innocentia decoratum, ac omnium bestiarum volatilium et piscium dominum, nec non possessurum in coelo sedes, quas ipse cum sibi adhaerentibus per superbiam amiserat, doluit vehementer: et invidens ejus foelicitati, proposuit ipsum debellare et totaliter interficere.]
8. St. Athanasius (De Incarnation Verbi [P. 56. edit. Paris. 1627. [c. 3. p. 50.]]) amongst other things worthy of observation, concerning the primordial state of our first parents (which hereafter we may have occasion to produce), hath these words; “He brought them therefore (Adam and Eve) into His paradise, and gave them a law; that if they should preserve the grace given then, and continue obedient, they might enjoy in paradise a life without grief, sorrow, Or care; besides, THAT THEY HAD A PROMISE ALSO OF AN IMMORTALITY IN THE HEAVENS.”* Where he doth not mean that they had an express promise of such immortality; but that in the general promise, that if they continued obedient they should live forever, a promise of such immortality was really in God’s intention, and necessarily in the reason and nature of the thing included; which is most certain.
*[___ ___ ______ ___ Ļ_________ ______ _________, ______ ______ ______ ___ __ ___ _________ ___ _____, ___ _______ _____, _____ ___ __ Ļ________ ___Ļ__ ___ ________ ___ _________ ____, Ļ___ __ ___ ___ __ ________ _________ ______ ___ _Ļ________ _____.]
The same Athanasius a little after affirms, [P. 57.] that if the protoplast had kept the similitude of God entire, “he should have been afterwards made incorruptible, and consecrated to a celestial life.” [________ __ ___ ___Ļ__ __ ____. [c. 4. p. 51.]]
9. St. Basil, [Homilia dicta in Lacizis, torn. i. p. 468. edit. Paris. 1638.] describing in a florid discourse the envy of the devil, occasioned by the very great felicity of man in his first estate, hath these words; “He saw that the man-loving God was not content with his enjoyment of this earth, but that He chose him as His proper delight, darling, and ornament, and placed him in paradise. The devil dealt maliciously when he saw the affluence of enjoyments, wherewith man was surrounded; the angels attending him as his tutors and guardians, and God Himself discoursing with him with His own voice, and in the same tongue or language; and the infant child on every side educated and instructed, that he might grow up into the similitude of God. When, I say, he understood and saw, that the Lord had called man, that silly animal, to a dignity equal with that of angels, training him up by virtue and sobriety of life to the perfection of his soul, he fell through envy* etc. He expresseth the same thing as fully, although in fewer words, in his Homily entitled, Quod Deus non est Author Mali, [Tom. i. p. 370.] thus, “(The devil) seeing himself cast down from the angelical society, could not endure to see the son of the earth (Adam) lifted up or exalted by proficiency in virtue to the dignity of angels.”
*[_____ ___ ___ _______ _ ________Ļ__ ____ __ ___ ___ _Ļ_______, ___’ ___ _________ __________, __ _____ _______Ļ____ ___ _____Ļ__ ______ __________ _____, __________ ___ ___ Ļ_________. _Ļ__________ _ ________ ____ Ļ_____ _Ļ_______ Ļ___________ __ _____Ļ__ ________ Ļ__________ Ļ____________ _____ ____ __________ _________ ____ _____Ļ___, ____________ _Ļ_ _____ _____. Ļ_________ ___ Ļ____ ___ __Ļ___ Ļ___________, ___ ___ ____ _________ _________ _Ļ_____ ________ ___ _____Ļ__, _Ļ_____ _____ ___ __ ______ _____ ____ Ļ___ ___ ___ _______ _________ _ ______ Ļ__________, ___ ___ ______ ______ _____, ___ ___ ___________ ___ ____ ___ ____ _Ļ_ ___ _________ ___ _____, ___Ļ__.]
**[____ ___ ______ __ ___ _______ ____________, ___ _____ ___Ļ___ ___ ______ _Ļ_ ___ _____ ___ _______ ___ Ļ____Ļ__ ___________.]
The authors hitherto alleged are such as lived before the unhappy Pelagius was born to trouble the Church of God, and therefore their testimonies are the more considerable. And I can safely say, that I have not yet met with any approved author living before Pelagius (although I have read some others of that antiquity, beside the writers produced), who is of a contrary opinion. Nay, the ancient primitive Church was so certain of this truth, that she inserted the article into her public Offices and Prayers. For in the Liturgy of Clemens (the most ancient now extant, and certainly elder than the Pelagian heresy by one whole age at least), in the Prayer of Consecration of the Eucharist, we read these words concerning Adam, “When Thou broughtest him into the paradise of pleasure, Thou gavest him free leave to eat of all the other trees, and forbadest him to taste of one only FOR THE HOPE OF BETTER THINGS; that if he kept the commandments, he might receive IMMORTALITY as the reward of his obedience.”
*[Constit. Apost. VIII. 12. _________ __ ___ ___ ___ ______ Ļ_________, Ļ_____ ___ ______ ____ ___ ________ Ļ___ _________ ____ __ _____ ___ ______ _Ļ__Ļ__ _Ļ’ __Ļ___ ___________ ___ ___ ______ ___ _______, ______ ______ ___ _________ _________.]
If we come now to the Doctors of the Church that flourished after the Pelagian heresy arose (as a comet portending direful effects to the Christian world), it is confessed that they all maintained the same hypothesis: so that it would be a superfluous labour to shew the conveyance of this tradition through the several ages succeeding. Yet for our fuller satisfaction, I shall produce some testimonies also out of those authors, that are known to have been the chief antagonists of Pelagius; such as St. Augustin, Prosper, Fulgentius, and Petrus Diaconus.
10. St. Austin [Lib. i. de Peccat. Merit. et Remiss. cap. 3. [vol. x. p. 3.]] thus elegantly, as his manner was, discourseth, “For if God made the garments and shoes of the Israelites not to was old for so many years, what wonder is it, if such a power were given to man obedient, that having an animal and mortal body, he should yet have a certain state therein, whereby it might last for a great number of years without decay; being himself, in God’s due time, to pass from mortality to immortality, without death intervening?”*
*[Si enim Deus Israelitarum vestimentis et calceamentis praestitit, quod per tot annos non sunt obtrita; quid mirum si obedienti homini ejusmodi potentia praestaretur, ut animale ac mortale habens corpus, haberet in eo quendam statum, quo sine defectu esset annosus, tempore quo Deus vellet, a mortalitate ad immortalitatem, sine media morte, venturus? Vide lib. xiii. de Civitat. Dei, cap. 1. et cap. 19. prope finem, where he asserts this doctrine to be de fide Calliolica. [The words are, quod fides Christiana praedicat.]]
11. Prosper [Contra Collatorem, cap. 18. [c. 9. p. 327. ed. 1711.]] in the very beginning hath these words, “It were a sin to doubt of this, that the first man, in whom the nature of all men was concreated, was made upright and void of all sin, and that he received such a liberty of will, as that, if he forsook not God assisting him, he might continue in those good things which he had naturally received, because he would; and by the merit of voluntary obedience arrive to that bliss, wherein he neither would nor could fall away.”*
*[Rectum atque omni vitio carentem creatum esse hominem primum, in quo omnium hominum concreata natura est, dubitare fas non est, eumque tale accepisse liberum arbitrium, ut si auxiliantem sibi Dominum non desereret, posset in bonis, quae naturaliter acceperat, perseverare, quia vellet; et merito voluntariae perseverantiae in eam beatudinem pervenire, ut nec vellet decidere in deteriora, nec posset.]
12. Fulgentius [Ad Petrum Diac. Epist. xvii. c. 12. [p. 299. ed. 1684.]] layeth down certain principles of Catholic doctrine, firmissime credenda, “most firmly to be believed” by every man that hath not a mind “to bear the name of a Christian in vain, yea, to his own damnation” [Christiana religionis inaniter, imo damnabiliter portare vocabulum.]; (the severity of which expression I approve not applied to all that which follows,) and amongst them this is one, “The good and just Creator prescribed to that man, whom He created in an animal body, and enriched with the gift of understanding and righteousness, a condition on both sides just and equal, viz. that if he kept his obedience, which is the prime virtue, he should from the animal quality of the body, wherein he was created, pass without the death of the body (because without any sin in his soul) to a spiritual and immortal state; and should have received by the Divine gift, if he had kept the commandments, not only a perfect and never-failing immortality of the body, but also such a grace in the soul, of living holily and righteously, that from thenceforth he should not at all be able to sin, if he did not sin whilst he was able.”*
*[A bono justoque Creatore illi homini, quem in corpore animali conditum ditavit intelligentiae ac justitiae dono, justa est utrimque statuta conditio, ut scil. si obedientiam, quae primaria virtus est, custodiret, ex animali in qua creatus erat corporis qualitate ad spiritualem immortalemque statum sine corporis morte (quia sine animae iniquitate) transiret, accepissetque divino munere, si praecepta servasset, non solum perfectam atque inamissibilem corporis immortalitatem, verum etiam in anima talem gratiam sancte justeque vivendi, ut peccare deinceps omnino non posset, si non peccaret, donec peccare potuisset.]
Lastly, Petrus Diaconus [De Gratis Christi, cap. 6.] speaks the same thing in fewer words, “Death and immortality were after a sort put into the hands of man’s free will and choice: for he was capable of both: so that if he kept the commandment, he should become immortal without tasting death; but if he despised it, death should presently follow.”*
*[Erat mors et immortalitas in ejus (Adami) posita quodammodo arbitrii libertate. Capax enim erat utriusque rei, ut si servaret praeceptum, sine experientia mortis fieret immortalis: si vero contemneret, mors continuo aequeretur.]
I have made choice of these allegations out of a great abundance that might have been produced, because they are not only so many testimonies of what the Catholic Church of old thought in this controversy, but also suggest very evident reasons whereby the thing in question (laying aside the authority of the writers themselves) may be easily demonstrated. The reasons are two.
1. There is nothing more certain, as I have already shewn, than that our first parents, if they had never sinned, should never have died. Nor is it less certain; that the immortality, which obeying God they should have enjoyed, whilst they dwelt in this earth, and in the animal and earthly body, would have been adventitious, and above (yea, in some sort against) nature, that is, the natural tendency of such a body, and such as would have needed an extraordinary and peculiar care and providence of God for its sustentation. Now seeing we find, that the most wise God hath so ordered and appointed the course of things, that nothing which is violent useth to be perpetual, it necessarily follows, that our first parents, after they had given an experiment of their obedience, for such a space of time as God should think fit to appoint, should at length have passed into such a state, wherein the animal quality of their bodies being wholly laid aside, they should have possessed a natural, internal, and never-failing immortality; that is, an immortality properly so called. Read again the testimonies of Tatian, Theophilus Antiochenus, etc. St. Austin, Prosper, Fulgentius, and Petrus Diaconus.
2. It seems most absurd to affirm, that man, being a creature endowed with liberty of will, and so capable of reward and punishment according to his good or ill behaviour, should presently upon his creation have obtained his ultimate end. It was necessary, no doubt, that man should first be a viator, as the schools speak, and then a comprehensor; be put in stadio, “in the race,” before he arrived ad metam, “to the goal”; and, in a word, give a specimen of his virtue and obedience before he received his reward. The first man, therefore, had not obtained his ultimate felicity, when presently upon his creation he was placed in the earthly paradise, but was only put in such a state, wherein (matter and occasion of proficiency being on every side ministered to him) he might tend, and by degrees proceed and go forward to a farther and higher beatitude. This reason all the testimonies we have alleged universally insinuate. The coldness, therefore, and indifference of Grotius in this question, is no way commendable, who speaking of Adam hath these words; “What God would have done with him if he had continued obedient, I dispute not; I willingly leave every man to his own judgment in this matter.” [Votum pro Pace, p. 19. Quid de eo facturus fuisset Deus, si obedire perstitisset, non disputo; libenter hac in re suum cuique relinquo judicium.] For certainly it is very unreasonable, that every man should be allowed the liberty of opining as he pleaseth, in a question already determined by so universal a consent of the Catholic Doctors, and that too upon reasons so evident.
Let us now proceed to the demonstration of the other hypothesis, viz. That our first parents, besides the seeds of natural virtue and religion sown in their minds, in their very creation, and besides the natural innocence and rectitude wherein also they were created, were endowed moreover with certain gifts and powers supernatural, infused by the Spirit of God; and that in these gifts their perfection consisted.
This indeed, as I have already noted, is a consequent of the former hypothesis; for the means ought to be proportioned and suited to the end. If therefore our first parents had been designed only to a natural, i.e. earthly felicity, a supernatural gift would have been useless, or at least unnecessary to them; for “a means of a superior order is in vain required for the obtaining of an inferior end.” [Ad finem inferiorem frustra assumitur medium ex ordine superiori.] And so, on the contrary, if the protoplasts be supposed to have been designed to a supernatural, i.e. celestial bliss, it necessarily follows, that they were furnished with powers suited to the obtaining of such an end; that is, supernatural. Yet because all men perhaps are not able to discern the necessity of this consequence, and because this latter hypothesis is chiefly questioned by learned men, I shall not refuse the labour of proving this assertion also out of the writings of the ancients, and that somewhat more copiously than I have done the former.
Justin Martyr, who flourished “in the first succession of the Apostles,” [__ __ Ļ____ _______ ___ _Ļ_______. Eus. E. H. iii. 37. By “the middle thereof” is probably meant the middle of the second century.]] and that about the middle thereof, in his Epistle to Diognetus, [P. 502. [c. ult. p. 240.]] speaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life, said to be planted together in the midst of paradise, and giving an allegorical sense of the text, hath these remarkable words; “For those things are not without signification which are written, that God in the beginning planted the tree of life in the midst of paradise, pointing out the way to life by knowledge; of which knowledge our first parents not making a holy use, were by the imposture of the serpent stripped and divested. For neither is there life without knowledge, nor sure or certain knowledge without true life, and therefore both (trees) were planted near together.”* There is nothing more evident, than that the blessed Martyr, by the knowledge he here attributes to the first man in the state of integrity, means not mere natural reason, or any effect thereof, but some supernatural gift or effect of the Spirit. For, 1. He speaks expressly of such a sure and certain knowledge, which retained, is inseparably accompanied with true, that is, eternal life. 2. He affirms Adam to have been stripped or divested of this knowledge by his sin. [Philo Judaeus, Alleg. l. ii. p. 70, says, that our first parents were after their sin ______ ______.] But sure the protoplast did not by his sin lose his reason, or cease to be a man. 3. The very metaphor the Father useth, of being stripped, or divested, shews he speaks of something extrinsic and adventitious to the nature of man, such as is a garment to the body; and not of anything essential or natural to man. But what need of many words? They that are any whit acquainted with the language of antiquity, know very well that ______ and ________ among the Greek Fathers, and cognitio and sapientia among the Latins, when attributed to man in the state of integrity, are constantly used to express that whole complexion of supernatural virtues (of which, Divine illumination or knowledge is the leading grace), wherewith he was in that state adorned, and to which, being lost through sin, he is restored by the Spirit in regeneration. [See Col. 3:10.]
*[____ ___ _____ __ __________, __ ____ _Ļ’ _____ _____ ____ __ ____ Ļ_________ ________, ___ _______ ____ _Ļ_________ _ __ _______ __________ __ _Ļ’ _____, Ļ____ ___ _____ ____________ ____ ___ ___ ____ _______, ____ ______ _______ ____ ____ ________ ___ Ļ______ ________ Ļ_________.]
Tatian, the scholar of Justin, explains his master’s meaning very clearly in many places of his Oration against the Greeks. Thus, p. 146, 147. [c. 7. p. 240.] “After that men had followed a certain (Spirit) more subtle and cunning, because of greater age and experience than the rest, and held him for a god, that opposed himself to the Divine law; then the POWER OF THE WORD deprived both the author of this madness, and the men that followed him, of His familiarity and friendship; and he that was made after the image of God, that more POWERFUL SPIRIT withdrawing from him, became mortal.”* So p. 150, [c. 12. p. 253.] he declares the common doctrine of the Christians in his time, in these words; “We (Christians) acknowledge two kinds of spirits, whereof the one is called the soul, the other is more excellent than the soul, as being the very image and similitude of God; now both these were given to the first men.”** Where by the “first men” he undoubtedly means Adam and Eve, but he names them not, as speaking to the heathens, that were ignorant of the history of the creation delivered by Moses. Again, p. 152, [c. 13. p. 255.] he hath these words; “The Spirit was at the beginning familiar to the soul, but because it would not follow the Spirit, it was forsaken by it. So that now the soul, although it still retain as it were a certain fuel, apt to be kindled by the power of the same Spirit, yet by reason of the withdrawing thereof, not being able throughly to discern the things that are perfect, in seeking after the one God it hath framed to itself many gods.”*** To conclude our testimonies out of this most ancient writer, p. 153. [c. 15. p. 256.] of the same Oration, he expresseth this matter, briefly yet fully in these words; “It remains that we now seek and endeavour after the recovery of that again, which we once had, but lost, viz. the conjunction of our souls with the Holy Spirit, and a union with God.”****
*[___ _Ļ____ ____ ___________ Ļ___ ____ ___Ļ___ ____ ___ __ Ļ_________ ________________, ___ ____ _________ __ _____Ļ__, ___ ___ _Ļ___________ __ ____ ___ ____, ____ _ ___ _____ _______ ___ __ _______ ___ _Ļ______, ___ ____ _________________ _____, ___ ___ ____ _______ Ļ__________ ___ _ ___ ___’ ______ ___ ____ _______ ___________ _Ļ’ _____ ___ _________ ___ ___________, ______ _______.]
**[___ Ļ________ ________ _____ _____, __ __ ___ ________ _____ __ __ ______ ___ ___ _____, ____ __ _____ ___ _________ _______ __ Ļ___ ____ _____Ļ___ ____ Ļ______ _Ļ_____.]
***[______ ___ ___ __________ _______ __ Ļ_____ __ _____ __ __ ______ ______ _Ļ_____ __ __________ ____, _________Ļ___ _ __ __Ļ__ _______ ___ ________ _____ _________, ___ ___ ___ ________ __ ______ _______ __ ________, _______ ___ ____, Ļ______ _____ _____Ļ___.]
****[___ ___ ___Ļ__ ____ _Ļ__ _______ _Ļ__________ _____ ___ _________, _________ __ ___ _____ __ ________ __ ____, ___ ___ ____ ____ ________ Ļ_____________.]
Irenaeus [Lib. v. cap. 6.] professedly undertakes to prove that the first man was not made a perfect man, or according to the likeness of God, by a reasonable soul and a human body only, without the addition of a “third principle,” viz. the Divine Spirit. Where amongst many other things he hath these words; “When the Spirit is mingled with the soul, and (both) united to the body, by the effusion of the same Spirit, man becomes spiritual and perfect; and this is the man that was made after the image and likeness of God. But if the Spirit be wanting to the soul, he that is such is indeed animal and carnal, and being so left is imperfect.”* Presently, after having reckoned up these three principles, the body, the soul, and the Divine Spirit, he adds, “the mixture and union of all these together make up a perfect man.” [Commixtio autem et unitio horum omnium perfectum hominem efficit.] Where if any man be stumbled at Irenaeus’s affirming, that he who is void of the Spirit is but part of a man, not a perfect man, let him remember, that man may be considered in a double order or relation.
*[Cum Spiritus commixtus animae unitur plasmati, propter effusionem Spiritus, spiritualis et perfectus homo factus est: et hic est qui secundum imaginem et similitudinem factus est Dei. Si autem defuerit animae Spiritus, animalis est vere, qui est talis, et carnalis derelictus imperfectus erit, etc.]
1. In relation to the natural, animal, and earthly life. And so he is a perfect man, that hath only a reasonable soul and a body adapted thereunto; for the powers and faculties of these are sufficient to the exercise of the functions and operations belonging to such a life.
But, 2. Man may be considered in order to a supernatural end, and as designed to a spiritual and celestial life; and of this life the Spirit of God is the principle. For man’s natural powers and faculties, even as they were before the fall entire, were not sufficient or able of themselves to reach such a supernatural end, but needed the power of the Divine Spirit to strengthen, elevate, and raise them thereunto. He that denies this, opposeth himself against the stream and current of the Holy Scriptures, and the consent of the Catholic Church, and must betake himself into the tents of Pelagius. Therefore to the perfect constitution of man, considered in this relation, a reasonable soul and a body adapted thereunto are not sufficient; but there is necessarily required a union of the Divine Spirit with both, as it were a third essential principle. This, as it is a certain truth, so it is a great mystery in Christianity, which would deserve a larger discourse for its explanation than this place will admit of. We therefore proceed. The same Irenaeus, [Lib. iii. cap. 37. [cap. 23, 5. p. 221.]] by a fiction of person, introduceth Adam after his fall thus acknowledging his sin and misery; “That robe of sanctity or holiness which I had from the Spirit, I have lost by disobedience, etc.” [Eam quam habui a Spiritu sanctitatis stolam amisi per inobedientiam, etc.]
The author of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (whoever he were) speaketh thus, [C. iii. § 11. p. 296.] “Mankind having from the beginning fallen through foolishness FROM THE DIVINE GOOD THINGS, received a life obnoxious to many passions, and which was to be terminated in death and corruption.” [___ _____Ļ____ _____ _______ _Ļ_ ___ _____ ______ _______ _____________, _ Ļ___Ļ________ ___ __________, ___ ___ _____Ļ____ _______ Ļ____.] Therefore Adam had, beside his naturals entire, certain divine good things, which he lost to himself and us by his sin and folly.
Tertullian [De Patientia, cap. 5.] tells us, that Adam upon his sin “was no longer wise to God, was no longer able to bear heavenly things.” [Desivit Deo sapere, desivit coelestia sustinere posse.] Therefore, before he sinned he was endowed with a divine wisdom, and capable of heavenly things, and so was not in a merely natural or animal state and condition. But we need not thus pick out the meaning of the Father from such single expressions dropping from him by the by, for he expressly and fully owns this doctrine, [De Baptismo, cap. 5.] where, speaking of the regeneration of man by Baptism, he hath these words; “Thus man is restored to God, and to his likeness, who was before made after God’s image, etc. For he receives again the Spirit of God, which he then had by his inspiration, but afterwards lost by sin.” [Ita restituitur homo Deo ad similitudinem ejus, qui retro ad imaginem Dei conditus fuerat, etc. Recipit enim illum Dei Spiritum, quem tunc de afflatu ejus acceperat, sed post amiserat per delictum.]
Cyprian [De Bono Patientiae.] delivers the same doctrine in these words; “He shews and teaches the regenerate to be then consummated, when the patience of God the Father remains in us, when the Divine similitude, which Adam lost by his sin, is manifested, and shines in our actions. What a glory is it to be made like unto God! What and how great felicity, to have those virtues, which may equal the Divine praises!”* Where he manifestly places the perfection of that Divine similitude, which Adam had, but lost by his sin, in those divine and supernatural virtues, to which we are restored by the heavenly birth, and which we receive from Christ the second Adam. Afterwards, [Adam contra coeleste praeceptum cibi lethalis impatiens in mortem cecidit: nec acceptam divinitus gratiam patientia custode servavit. [p. 253.]] in the same Sermon, he tells us, that “Adam being impatiently desirous of the deadly food, against the heavenly commandment, became liable to death; nor did be by patience keep THE GRACE RECEIVED FROM GOD.” [Gen. 2:7.] So in his seventy-fourth Epistle, Ad Pompeium, he interprets the words of the Scripture spoken of Adam, [In which sense alone St. Austin opposeth this interpretation as grossly absurd. De Civit. Dei, xiii. 24.] “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” concerning the grace of the Holy Ghost infused by God into the first man. Which exposition is followed by very many others of the Fathers.
*[Sic consummari ostendit et docuit coelesti nativitate reparatos, si patientia Dei Patris maneat in nobis, si similitudo divina quam peccato Adam perdiderat, manifestetur et luceat in actionibus nostris. Quae gloria est similem Deo fieri? Qualis et quanta felicitas, habere in virtutibus quod divinis laudibus possit aequari? [p. 248.]]
Nor is it so absurd a gloss, as at first appearance it may seem to be. For these Fathers meant not this so e, as if Adam in the insufflation did not receive his soul, or the principle of his natural life, but that this was not all that he then received. For they believed, that together with his soul, or the principle of his natural life, he received also the grace of the Holy Spirit, as a principle of the divine life, to which he was also designed; that is, that God did not send the pure and immaculate soul of the first man unto his body naked, but stamped all the _________ _______________ ______, that Clemens Alexandrinus speaks of, i.e. “the characteristic propriety of the Holy Spirit superadded.” [Strom. vi. p. 681. [c. 16. p. 808.]] Thus St. Basil expressly comparing the divine insufflation upon Adam with that of Christ [John 20:22.] upon the Apostles, tells us, [Lib. v. con. Eunom. 119. [vol. i. p. 304.]] that it was the same Son of God [__ __ ____ ______ ___ __________ ____ ___ ____ _____, ___ __ ___ _____.] “by Whom God gave the insufflation, then indeed together with the soul, but now into the soul.” And this is no more than what many of the schoolmen affirm, that Adam was creatus in gratia, “created in grace,”* i.e. received a principle of grace and divine life from his very creation, or in the moment of the infusion of his soul, of which for mine own part I little doubt. For we find this notion not only in the ancient writers of the Christian Church, but to have been known also to the Church of the Jews in our Saviour’s time, and before; and supposed by them to be the recondite sense of the text before alleged out of Gen. 2:7. I will give you a most illustrious testimony for this out of Philo Judaeus, who lived near the time of our Saviour, yea part of it, and who seems to me to have first opened the rich treasure of the more mysterious learning of the Jews, and to have exposed it in the common tongue to the knowledge of the Gentiles; although, I confess, with the addition of some dross of his own.
*[Ab initio creationis virtus, quae vitam ministrat, simul cum Spiritus S. ingressa erat in hominem, ut haec creatura foret secundum imaginem Dei, quasi unus reciperet utrumque. Nam impossibile est, ut intellectus noster gestet imaginem Dei, si non fuerit illuminatus a Spiritu S. etc. Igitur anima a primordio suae creationis vitalem vim et Spiritum S. pariter nacta est. Procop. ad cap. i. Genes. p. 42. edit. Tigur.]
Thus therefore he, discoursing upon the aforementioned text [Gen. 2:7.]; “These words do also discover a certain secret of nature. For there are three things here required, the thing inspiring, the thing that receives the inspiration, and the thing received by the inspiration. That which inspires is God, that which receives the inspiration is the mind, and the thing received by the inspiration is the Spirit. What therefore is the result of this? There is a union of these three things, whilst God doth exert from Himself a certain power, which by nerves of the Spirit reacheth to the subject receiving it. And to what other purpose, than that hereby we might attain the notion of Him? otherwise how could the soul have known God, unless Himself had first inspired and touched it according to its capacity? For the mind of man durst not have aspired so high, as to attempt the knowledge of God’s nature, unless God Himself had raised it up to Himself, as far as it was capable of being so raised.”* In these words the whole of that, which the Christian writers assert concerning the state of the first man, is comprehended. For here, 1. We have beside and above the __ __________, or highest natural faculty of man, his mind, a faculty superadded, viz. of the Divine Spirit. For that the ____ here signifies the __ __________, appears from the express words of Philo presently following, “The ruling and highest facility of the soul is the mind; this only God inspires.” [ ] 2. It is affirmed here, that Adam received this divine principle in his very creation, at the same time when his natural soul was breathed into him. 3. He tells us, that the first man had this divine principle given to him, that thereby he might be raised to the saving knowledge of God, which otherwise he could not have reached unto by his natural powers. Put these things together, and what do they amount to more or less than what the Christian writers have taught us, viz. that Adam in his very creation received a supernatural principle in order to a supernatural end; and that this is the mystical sense of those words, Gen. 2:7.
*[Allegor. l. i. p. 47. ________ __ __ ___ ___________ _ Ļ______. ____ __ ___ ___________ _ Ļ______. ____ ___ _____ ____ __ __Ļ____, __ _________, __ __Ļ_________ __ ___ ___ __Ļ____, _____ _ _____ __ __ _________, _ _____ __ __ __Ļ________, __ _______ __ ___ __ ______ _________; ______ _______ ___ _____, _________ ___ ____ ___ __’ ______ _______ ___ ___ _____ _________ ____ ___ _Ļ_________. _____ _____, _ _Ļ__ _______ _____ _______; _Ļ__ Ļ__ __ _______ _ ____ ____, __ __ ___Ļ_____ ___ _____ _____ ____ _______; __ ___ __ _Ļ________ ________ __________ _ _____Ļ____ ____, __ ____________ ____ ______, __ __ _____ _ ____ ____Ļ____ _____ Ļ___ ______, __ ____ _____Ļ____ ____ ____Ļ_______.]
Nor did this notion drop from Philo unawares, or by the by, or was screwed out of the text to serve his present purpose; for he frequently inculcates the very same thing, not only in his Allegories, but in his other writings. And it were easy to allege other Jewish writers delivering the same notion with Philo. Hiskuni in his commentary tells us that “God did with His own inspiration, which is the Holy Ghost, breathe into man.” [Cum inspiratione sus, quae est Spiritus Sanctus, inspiravit Deus in hominem.] And it will be apparent to any man that considers that this is the very meaning of the threefold distinction of the powers of the soul, frequently occurring in the Jewish rabbins, into the “living soul,” the “spirit,” or the rational soul, and the “inspiration” or the Divine afflatus, which Adam received in his creation. For although some of the latter rabbins, too ignorant of the degeneracy of man’s nature by Adam’s sin, and divers learned men, as Drusius, Grotius, and others, being misled by them, tell us, that Nesama in this distinction signifies no more than the intelligent or rational soul, yet it is manifest enough from what hath been said, that the Nesama signifies some supernatural power distinct from and above the highest natural faculty or power in man, the same with the ______ in Philo, and that the __ __________, or highest natural faculty in man, is in this distinction comprehended in the word Ruach, or “Spirit”. If it be objected, that the ancient Jews and Christians did groundlessly imagine this sense in the text aforementioned, because after the mention of the insufflation it presently follows, “and man became a living soul,” intimating that this was all the man received by this insufflation, the answer is easy, that this argument, if it proves anything, proves too much, viz. that the first man by the Divine insufflation received no more than what is in every brute, viz. a living soul. But all sober Divines acknowledge, that there was given to man in the insufflation something more than such a soul, viz. an intelligent and rational soul. And why not then this intelligent soul, impressed with the Divine character, and touched with the virtue of the Holy Spirit, as the ancient Jews and Christians generally believed, taught this (I little doubt) from the prophetic Cabala, which being first received among the Jews was from them derived into the Christian Church? It hath been observed by many learned interpreters, both ancient and modern, that Moses, in the history of the creation, meddles not with things spiritual and incorporeal (and therefore wholly omits the creation of Angels), but describes only such things as fall under sense. And so accordingly in this instance, having mentioned the Divine insufflation into the first man, in the following words he describes only the more sensible effect of that insufflation, viz. that thereby the dead lump of man’s body was animated and empowered to the actions of life and sense. But he that should hence imagine that this was the entire effect of that insufflation, would thereby discover himself to be a very dull soul, and really as brutish as he fancies the very first man to have been made. Moreover in these words, “and man became a living soul,” is signified, that the effect of this insufflation as to the body of man was only this, that thereby it received the animal life, and so was in its own nature mortal, as the bodies of the other animals are, and that it had not yet received that vivific power in itself, whereby it was made immortal and incorruptible, as our bodies in the resurrection shall be, as St. Paul discourseth, 1 Cor. 15:42; of which more anon.
He that shall attend to these things will be easily persuaded, that the notion of Irenaeus above mentioned, asserting that man is not perfect in his constitution, without the divine principle of the Spirit, was no idle fancy, or dream of his, but a real, although mysterious, truth, as being acknowledged by the wiser Jews before Christ, and from them derived into the Christian Churches planted by the Apostles. For he means no more than this, that man void of the Spirit wants the Nesama (as the latter rabbins speak), or the ______ (as Philo termeth it), which the first man received in his creation, in order to a supernatural life. And perhaps from hence also you may gather the right sense of those words of St Paul, [1 Thess. 5:23.] where speaking to Christians (who are supposed to have recovered that in the second Adam which they had lost in the first), he mentions these three principles in them, the “Spirit,” the “soul,” and the “body”. Indeed many learned interpreters tell us here, that St. Paul alludes to the threefold distinction of the soul, into the “vegetative,” the “sensitive,” and the “ rational,” and so that the “Spirit” in St. Paul signifies no more than the __ __________, or “mind”. But it seems plain to me, that the Apostle meddles not with the threefold faculty of man’s soul (for what hath the body to do in that distinction?), but rather describes the threefold principle of the compositum, if I may so speak, of a Christian (which St. Paul calls the _________), who besides his body and soul, which make him a perfect natural man, hath also the ______, the Spirit (that Philo speaks on), to render him a perfect man in order to a supernatural life.
It is a weak argument that Didymus of old objected against this interpretation; “ It is incredible and even blasphemous to imagine, that the Apostle should pray that the Spirit might be preserved entire, (in the Thessalonians,) who is not capable either of mutation or augmentation.” [Incredibile atque blasphemum, orare Apostolum ut Spiritus S. serveutur, qui nec immutationem potest recipere nec profectum.] For I beseech you, doth not the same Apostle tell us, that the Spirit may be “ grieved,” [Eph. 4:30.] yea and “quenched”? [1 Thess. 5:19.] And is it not manifest, that in those texts he speaks of the Divine Spirit, or some effect thereof? The meaning therefore of the Apostle in such cases is clearly this; That the Divine Spirit given by God must be carefully preserved and cherished by prayer and obedience to His dictates, and avoiding everything that is offensive to Him, or else God may justly, and will certainly deprive us of the same. And thus Irenaeus [Lib. v. 6.] interprets the place under consideration; and thus the Greek Fathers generally by the Spirit understand the _______, or “gift”. Read carefully Grotius’s annotation upon the place. Nay, St. Paul seems to interpret himself very expressly in another place, [Viz. Eph. 4:23.] exhorting the Ephesians [___________ __ ________ ___ ____.] “to be renewed by (for so I would translate it, and not in) the Spirit of their mind.” Where Chrysostom gives us this paraphrase of the words, “by the Spirit which is in their minds.” [__ ________ __ __ __ __.] Modern interpreters indeed tell us, that the Apostle by “the Spirit of the mind” means no more than “the Spirit which is the mind.” But who sees not how flat and dull an interpretation this is? Is it not much more reasonable to imagine, that the Apostle, being a Jew, and trained up at the feet of Gamaliel in the more mysterious Jewish learning, speaks here the language of the wiser and more learned Jews that were before him? Now they, as we have seen, beside and above the ____, or highest natural faculty in man’s soul, believed another principle necessary in order to a supernatural life, viz. the Divine Spirit; and that this Divine Spirit immediately affects only the ____ (and so is fitly termed ______ ___ ____), being from thence derived into the inferior faculties, as we but now heard out of Philo. I say it is very reasonable thus to interpret the text, especially seeing it is manifest that St. Paul, in discoursing of other mysteries of the Christian religion, and those of the greatest importance, hath the same common notions and phrases too with Philo and other Jews which were before him; which I could easily demonstrate in many instances, if this were a proper place for it. By the help then of this Spirit in their minds, the Apostle exhorts the Ephesians to be “renewed,” or to “put on the new man,” i.e. to acquire those gracious qualities of righteousness and true holiness, wherein that new man consists, which (he adds) was created after God,” that is, “after God’s image,” according to which the first man was made, who had in his creation given him that Spirit, that Nesama in his mind, but lost it by his sin and folly. [It is the same thing the Apostle means in the phrase ________ ___ Ļ______ ___ _______ ________, Rom. 8:13, where it is manifest from the whole context that by “the Spirit” is meant the Divine Spirit, or the Spirit of Christ. See especially ver. 16.]
In a word, that the first man in his creation received the Spirit of God, and that in order to a celestial life, or the attainment of the beatific vision (which is the doctrine of the ancient Christian writers), the same Philo in another place expressly teacheth. For in his book, [De Mundi Opificio, p. 33.] speaking of Adam before his fall, he hath these most remarkable words; “Having much of the Divine Spirit flowing in upon him, he studied both to do and speak all things so as to please his Father and King, treading on His footsteps in that highway of virtue, which was chalked out unto him, and in which those souls alone may walk, whose aim and end it is to attain at length an assimilation to that God that begat them.”* Here we have Adam supposed in his creation to be furnished with supernatural powers, viz. a copious measure of the Divine Spirit, and that in order to a supernatural end, the being made like unto God, which is attainable only by the beatific vision. And I know not where we can find in the writings of the Christian Doctors a testimony more clearly asserting the truth I contend for, than this of Philo. – You will now, I presume, easily pardon this large digression, being in itself not useless, and being also necessary to remove a stone of offence, often cast in the way of the reader that converseth with the writings of the ancient Fathers.
*[______ _______ ___ _____ ___ _____ _________, Ļ____ ___ ______ ___ Ļ_______ __Ļ_______ ___ _________ ___ ______ ___ ________, _Ļ______ ____ ___’ _____ ____ _____, __ __ _________ ____________ _______ __ __ ______ ______ _____ Ļ___________, _____ __________ ___ Ļ___ ___ __________ ____ __________.]
Nay moreover I shall persuade myself, that from this one instance (among many) you will learn from henceforth the modesty of submitting your judgment to that of the Catholic Doctors, where they are found generally to concur in the interpretation of a text of Scripture, how absurd soever that interpretation may at first appearance seem to be. For upon a diligent search you will find that aliquid latet, quod non patet, “there is a mystery in the bottom”; and that what at the first view seemed even ridiculous, will afterwards appear to be a most important truth. Let them therefore, who, reading the Fathers, are prone to laugh at that in them which they do not presently understand, seriously consider, quanto suo periculo id faciant. And so let us proceed in our citations.
Origen, [Cont. Cels. l. vi. p. 319. edit. Cantabrig. 1658. [c. 63. p. 681.]] after that he had sufficiently refuted the gross and profane conceits of Celsus, that great disciple of Epicurus, concerning the image of God, after which the first man is said to be created, [Gen. 1:27.] thus (as it were delivering the common sentiment of the Christians of his time) concludes his discourse; “It remains, that the image of God be placed in the inward man (as we call it), which is renewed and fitted to represent the image of his Creator; so that we are to conceive this to be the image of God, when a man becomes perfect, as the heavenly Father is perfect, and obeys the voice of God, ‘Be ye holy, as the Lord your God is holy’: and when learning that lesson, ‘Be ye followers of God,’ he receives into his well-disposed soul the characters of God.”*
*[___Ļ____ __ __ ___’ ______ ___ ____ __ __ ___’ ____ ________ ___ _____Ļ_, ___ _____________, ___ Ļ_______ _________ ___’ ______ ___ _________ ________ __ ___’ _______ ___ _______ ___ _______ __ _ _____ _ ________ _______ _____ ___ ______ ___ _____ ______, ___ ___ _____ ______ _ ____ _____ ___ ________ __, _______ ___ ____ _______, ___________ ___ ___ ______ ________ _____ ____ __________ ___ ____.]
From which words it is plain, that Origen (with the Chris.. tians of his time) thought that the perfection of the Divine image, after which Adam is said to be created, consisted in holiness and supernatural virtues, and in those characters of God, which were impressed on his soul. Read that which follows in Origen.
The author of the five dialogues, amongst the works of Athanasius (which the famous Scultetus judgeth to be the work of a very learned writer, and highly worth our reading), doth frequently deliver the same doctrine, but especially in his third dialogue between Macedonius and the orthodox or Catholic Christian. So [P. 225. [c. 16. p. 516.]] he takes it for granted, that Adam could not be said to be made after the image of God, “if he had not been sanctified by the Spirit of holiness.” [__ _________ __ ________ ___ _________.] And presently after we find the Macedonian and the Catholic Christian thus discoursing; “MAC. Are not therefore all men made after the image of God? ORTHOD. Sinners are not; but they that mortify the deeds of the flesh, and put on the new man created after God, these only have the image of God. For such was Adam before his transgression.”* Where, when he denies wicked men to have the image of God in them, he is to be understood of the perfection of the Divine image which wicked men want, who in the meantime retain those lineaments of the image which are implanted in the nature of man, such as the power of understanding, and the liberty of willing, and that dominion over the other creatures which is founded thereon: of which more hereafter. The same author a little after; “We see that man, created after the image of God, was endued with the cooperation of the Spirit.” [___ _________ _____Ļ__ ___’ ______ ____ ___ ___ _________ __________ ______ ____.] So p. 226. [p. 517.] he takes this for a thing universally granted amongst all Christians, “that Adam in paradise was holy” [___ _’ ____ __ Ļ________ _____ __.]; yea, and so created, as it presently follows.
*[___. ___ _____ ___ Ļ_____ ___’ ______; ___. __ ____________, ___ __ __ ___ Ļ______ ___ _______ ___________, ___ ______________ ___ ______ _____Ļ__, ___ ____ ____ _________, ______ __ ___’ _______ ________ ___ __ _ ____ Ļ__ ___ Ļ_______.]
But let us hear the true and undoubted Athanasius. In him also this notion frequently occurs. I shall produce one most illustrious testimony out of him, which may be instar omnium. In his oration, entitled De Incarnatione Verbi, [Tom. I. p. 56. [c. 3. p. 49.]] you may read him thus excellently discoursing concerning the original state and condition of the first man; “God created all things out of nothing by His WORD, our Lord Jesus Christ. But above all His creatures, He was most abundant in His mercy to mankind: for considering that they were not able to subsist forever by the condition of their nature, he freely bestowed on them SOMETHING GREATER THAN IT, and did not simply create mankind as he did other brute animals upon earth, but made them after His own image, imparting to them also the virtue or POWER or His OWN WORD, that having, as it were, certain shadows and lineaments of that Word, and being made partakers thereof, they might be able to persevere in blessedness, living in paradise a true life, even the life of the holy Angels. And again, considering that the will of man was flexible to either part (i.e. to good or evil), he took care by way of prevention to secure the grace given them, by the reverence of a law, and the place wherein they were set.”*
*[__ ___ _____ __ Ļ____ Ļ_Ļ______ [_ ____] ___ ___ _____ _____ ___ ______ ____ _____ ________ __ ___ Ļ__ Ļ_____ ___ _Ļ_ ___ __ _____Ļ__ _____ _______, ___ ________ __ ___ ______ ___ ____ ___ ___ _____ ________ _____ _________ ___, Ļ____ __ ___________ ______, ___’ _Ļ___, __Ļ__ Ļ____ __ _Ļ_ ___ _____ ___, ______ ____ _____Ļ____ ____ ____ ___ ______ ______ _Ļ______ ______, ________ ______ ___ ___ ___ _____ _____ _________ ___ __Ļ__ _____ _____ _______ ___ _____ ___ _________ _______, _________ __ ___________ ________, ______ ___ ________ ___ _____ ___ _____ __ Ļ________ _____ _____ __ Ļ____ ___ _____Ļ__ ___ ________ ______ _________ Ļ_________, Ļ_______ __________ ____ ___ __Ļ_ ___ ________ ______ _____.]
I know not how anything could have been spoken more apposite to our purpose. For this great author doth here most expressly teach, that God did freely bestow upon the first man in his creation, besides his nature, something greater than it, which also he calls “grace,” the virtue or power of the Word or the Son of God, the Divine image; and that upon the account of the lubricity of his will, and because by the mere condition of his nature (without such grace), he was not able to persevere in that blessed life, wherein he was placed in paradise, or to arrive to that more blessed life in heaven to which also he was designed; as Athanasius himself tells us, in the words immediately following, which we have before cited in their proper place. A little after he tells us, [P. 57. [p. 51. c. 4.]] “For man indeed is by nature mortal, as being made of things that were not. But yet by reason of the Divine similitude, which he might have kept by attending to it, he should have repelled that his natural corruption, and remained incorruptible.”* Again, in the same page, “God did not only make us out of nothing, but also freely bestowed on us the power of living the life of God by the help of the Word).”** And a few lines after, speaking still of the protoplasts, he tells us, “Although they were by their nature, as we said before, corruptible, yet by the help of the Word, of which they were made partakers, they should have avoided that which was natural to them, if they had remained obedient. For by reason of the Word which was present with them, that natural corruption should have had no access unto them.”***
*[____ ___ ___ ____ _____ _____Ļ__ ______, ___ __ __ ___ _____ ________ ___ __ ___ Ļ___ ___ ____ _________, __ __ ________ ___ ___ Ļ___ _____ ___________, ________ __ ___ ____ _____ ______, ___ _______ ________.]
**[_ ___ ___ ____ __ _____ __ ___ _____ ____ Ļ_Ļ______, ____ ___ __ ____ ____ ___ ____ _________ __ ___ _____ ______.]
***[_____ ___ ____ _____, __ Ļ____Ļ__, _______, ______ __ ___ ___ _____ _________ ___ ____ _____ __________, __ ____________ ______ ___ ___ ___ _______ _______ _____, ___ _ ____ _____ _____ ______ ___ ______.]
In all which places, Athanasius manifestly acknowledgeth a divine principle in our first parents, which he termeth the “grace,” the “help,” the “participation” of the Word or Son of God (that is, the Holy Ghost), by which they were enabled both to live the divine life as to their souls, and also to persevere incorruptible and immortal in their bodies; that is, so as that the corruption, to which their bodies were naturally subject, should have been repelled and staved off from them, by virtue of the divine principle, as long as God should think fit to continue them in the animal body; and that in God’s due time their bodies should be changed, and become naturally and internally immortal, by the power of the same principle. I would desire the reader to consult the entire discourse of Athanasius in the pages cited.
The great Basil, in his Homily entitled, Quod Deus non est Author Peccati, speaking of the nature of man, as it was at first created, hath these words; “What was the chief or principal good it enjoyed? to Wit, THE ASSESSION OE GOD AND ITS CONJUNCTION WITH HIM BY LOVE; from which, when it fell, it became depraved with various and manifold evils.” [__ __ __ ____ __ Ļ___________ ______; _ Ļ_________ ___ ____, ___ _ ___ ___ ___Ļ__ _________ __ __Ļ______, ____ Ļ________ ___ Ļ______Ļ___ ____________ _______. [§ 6. vol. v. p. 78.]] So in his book, De Spiritu Sancto [Cap. 15.] he plainly tells us, “The dispensation of God and our Saviour towards man, is but the recalling of him from the fall, and his return into the friendship of God, from that alienation which sin had caused. This was the end of Christ’s coming in the flesh, of His life and conversation described in the Gospel, of His passion, cross, burial, and resurrection; that man, who is saved by the imitation of Christ, might regain that ANCIENT ADOPTION.” [_ ___ ____ ___ _______ ____ Ļ___ ___ _____Ļ__ _________, _________ _____ _Ļ_ ___ __Ļ______, ___ _Ļ______ ___ _________ ____. _Ļ_ ___ ___ ___ Ļ_______ _________ _____________ ___ _____, _ ____ ______ _Ļ______ ________ _ ___ ___________ Ļ___________ _Ļ___Ļ_____ __ Ļ____ _ ________ _ _____ _ _________, ____ ___ _________ _____Ļ__ ___ ________ _______, ___ _______ _______ _________ _Ļ_______.] Where he plainly supposeth, that man before his fall, had the adoption of a son, and consequently the Spirit of adoption. And so he expressly interprets himself afterwards in the same chapter; “By the Holy Spirit we are restored into paradise, we regain the kingdom of heaven, we return to the adoption of sons.”* Again, [Homil. Advers. Eunomium, v. p. 117.] we have these express words; “We are called in the sanctification of the Spirit, as the Apostle teacheth. This (Spirit) renews us, and makes us again the image of God, and by the laver of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, we are adopted to the Lord, and the new creature again partakes of the Spirit, of which being deprived, it had waxed old. And thus man becomes again the image of God, who had fallen from the Divine similitude, and was become ‘like the beasts that perish.’”**
*[___ _________ _____, _ ___ Ļ_________ _Ļ____________ _ ___ _________ _______ _______ _ ___ _________ _Ļ______. Vide ejusdem libri, cap. 9.]]
**[__ _______ ___ _________ _________, __ _ _Ļ_______ ________, _____ ____ _______, ___ Ļ____ _______ ___________ ____, ___ _______ Ļ____________ ___ ____________ _________ _____ ____________ ______ _____ Ļ____ ______ ______________ ___ _________, __Ļ__ __________ Ļ_Ļ_______, _____ Ļ____ ____ _ _____Ļ__ __Ļ____ ___ __________ ___ _____, ___ Ļ_____________ ________ ________ ___ _________ ______. [vol. iii. p. 303.]]
St. Cyril [7. Dialog. de Trinit. p. 653.] delivers the same doctrine with great perspicuity and elegancy, in these words; “For when the animal (viz. man) had turned aside unto wickedness, and out of too much love of the flesh, had superinduced on himself the disease of sin, THAT SPIRIT, WHICH FORMED HIM AFTER THE DIVINE IMAGE, AND AS A SEAL WAS SECRETLY IMPRESSED ON HIS SOUL, WAS SEPARATED FROM HIM, and so he became corruptible and deformed, and every way vicious. But after that the Creator of the universe had designed to restore to its pristine firmness and beauty that which was fallen into corruption, and was become adulterated and deformed by sin superinduced, He sent again into it that Divine and Holy Spirit, which was withdrawn from it, and which hath a natural aptitude and power to change us into the celestial image, viz. by transforming us into His own likeness.”* And in the fourth book of the same work, “When the only-begotten Son was made man, finding man’s nature bereft of its ancient and primitive good, He hastened to transform it again into the same state, out of the fountain of His fullness, sending forth (the Spirit) and saying, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’”**
*[_____________ ___ ___ ____ Ļ___ __ Ļ________, ___ ___ ___Ļ______ ________ __ ___ ____Ļ__ ___________ ____________, __ Ļ___ _____ ______ ______________, ___ _________ _____ _Ļ_______ ____________ _Ļ__________ ______, _______ __ ____, ___ _______, ___ __ ___ ____ ___ ____Ļ__ __________ ___Ļ_______; _Ļ__ __ _ ___ ____ ____________ ___________ ______ ___ __________ __ ___ _________ ___ __ ______ __ ___________ ___ ______, Ļ________ __, ___ _______ ___ ___ ___Ļ______ _______ ________, ______ _____ ____ __ _Ļ_________ Ļ___ _____ __, ___ _____ ______, ______________ __ ____ Ļ___ ___ _Ļ_________ ______, ___ Ļ______ ___ _________ ___ ___ Ļ___ _____ ____ ______________ _________.]
**[___ _______ _____Ļ__ _ _________, ______ ___ Ļ____ ___ __ ______ ______ ___ _____Ļ__ _____ _____, Ļ____ _____ ___ ______ ______________ _Ļ______, ____Ļ__ _Ļ_ Ļ____ ___ _____ Ļ_________ ______ __ ___ ______ ______ ______ _____.]
St. Ambrose [Lib. vi. Hexamer. c. 7. [vol. i. p.129.]] interprets the image of God, after which the first man is said to be created, of the ornaments of grace and supernatural virtue, wherewith his soul was beautified, and then adds these words; “After this image was Adam made before his sin; but when he fell, he laid aside the image of the heavenly, and assumed the image of the earthly one.” [Secundum hanc imaginem Adam ante peccatum; sed ubi lapsus est, deposuit imaginem coelestis, et sumpsit terrestris effigiem.] So in his commentary upon Luke, [[Vol. i. p. 1427.]] expounding the parable [Chapter x.] of the man that fell among the thieves, he tells us, “that the angels of darkness, when man fell into their hands, stripped him of the garments of saving grace.” [[Qui sunt isti latrones, nisi angeli noctis atque tenebrarum? Hi ante dispoliant quae accepimus indumenta gratiae spiritalis.]]
St. Hierom, upon the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, [[Vol. vii. p. 631.]] expounding these words of St. Paul (“Grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption”), hath this note, “We are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, that both our spirit and soul might have the impress of God’s seal, and we might again receive that image and similitude, after which in the beginning we were created. This seal of the Holy Spirit is, according to the speech of our Saviour, put on by the impression of God.”*
*[Signati autem sumus Spiritu Dei sancto, ut et spiritus noster et anima imprimantur signaculo Dei, et illam recipiamus imaginem et similitudinem, ad quam in exordio conditi sumus. Hoc signaculum sancti Spiritus, juxta eloquium salvatoris, Deo imprimente signatur.]
St. Austin [Lib. xi. de Genes. ad Liter. c. 31. [vol. iii. p. 290.]] thus speaks of our first parents, “As soon as they had transgressed the commandment, being wholly stripped within of the grace of God forsaking them, they looked upon themselves,” [Mox ut praeceptum transgressi sunt, intrinsecus gratia deserente omnino nudati, in sua membra oculos injecerunt.] etc. So [De Corrept. et Grat. c. 11. [vol. x. p. 767. §. 31.]] speaking again of Adam, he saith, “Nor would God have him to be without His grace, which He left in the hand of his freewill.” [Nec ipsum Deus esse voluit sine sua gratia, quam reliquit in ejus libero arbitrio.] Again, [Lib. iv. cont. Julian. c. ult. [vol. x. p. 625. § 82.]] he speaks to the same purpose; “What doth the discovery of the nakedness, after the tasting of the forbidden fruit, signify but this, that what before was covered by grace, was now made bare by sin? For there must needs be a mighty grace, where the earthly and animal body felt no bestial lust. He therefore, that being clothed with grace, had nothing in his naked body to be ashamed of, being despoiled of grace, was sensible of something that needed a covering.”*
*[Quid est, gustato cibo prohibito, nuditas indicata, nisi peccato nudatum, quod gratia contegebat? Gratia quippe Dei magna ibi erat, ubi terrenum et animale corpus bestialem libininem non habebat. Qui ergo vestitus gratia non habebat in nudo corpore quod puderet, spoliatus gratia sensit, quod operire deberet. Read the same St. Austin, De Civitat. Dei, xiii. 1, 13, 24. et xiv. 10, 11, 17. et lib. de Spiritu et Lit. c. 17. See also what Philo speaks to the same effect, _________ __ ___ ___ _______ Ļ___________, ____ ___’ __ _ ____ _______ ___ ______ ______ ____________. Philo Allegor. ii. p. 71. [l. iii. p. 98.]]
Prosper, the scholar of St. Austin, [Contra Collatorem, c. 19. [c. 9. p. 320. ed. 1711.]] delivers the same Catholic doctrine in these words; “For in that ruin of the universal prevarication, man’s nature was not bereft either of its substance or faculty of willing, but only of the light and beauty of those virtues, of which by the imposture of the envious (spirit) it was stripped or divested. Now having lost those things, by which alone it was able to attain an eternal and never-failing incorruption of soul and body, what hath it remaining beside the things belonging to this temporal life, which is wholly a life of condemnation and punishment? For which cause there is a necessity, that those who are born in Adam should be born again in Christ, lest any man should be found in the generation which perished. For if the posterity of Adam dwelt naturally in those virtues, in which Adam was before his sin, they would not be the children of wrath, they would not be darkness, or under the power of darkness; lastly, they would not need the grace of a Saviour, because they would not be good in vain, nor defrauded of the reward of righteousness, having those good things, by the loss whereof our first parents deserved to be banished out of paradise. But now seeing no man can escape eternal death, without the sacrament of regeneration, doth it not most plainly appear from the singularity of the remedy itself, into what a depth of evils the nature of all mankind is plunged, by the prevarication of him in whom all men sinned, and lost whatsoever he lost? Now he in the beginning lost faith, he lost continence, he lost charity, he was despoiled of wisdom and understanding, he was bereft of counsel and fortitude,” etc.*
*[Naturae enim humanae, in illa universalis praevaricationis ruina, nec substantia erepta est nec voluntas, SED LUMEN DECUSQUE VIRTUTUM, quibus fraude invidentis exuta est. Perditis autem per quae ad aeternam atque inamissibilem corporis animaeque incorruptionem poterat pervenire, quid ei remansit, nisi quod ad temporalem pertinet vitam, quae tota est damnationis et poenae? Propter quod, natos in Adamo renasci oportet in Christo, ne in illa quis inveniatur generatione, quae periit. Nam si posteri Adae in illis virtutibus naturaliter agerent, in quibus Adam fuit ante peccatum, non essent natura filii irae, non essent tenebrae, nec sub potestate tenebrarum: Salvatoris denique gratia non egerent: quia non frustra boni essent, nec justitiae praemio fraudarentur: habentes ea bona, quorum amissione primi parentes de paradiso exulare meruerunt. Nunc autem, eum sine sacramento regenerationis aeternam mortem nemo possit evadere; nonne ex ipsius remedii singularitate apertissime patet, in quam profundum malum totius humani generis natura demersa sit, illius praevaricatione, in quo omnes peccaverunt, et quicquid ille perdidit, perdiderunt? Perdidit autem primitus fidem, perdidit continentiam, perdidit charitatem, spoliatus est sapientia et intellectu, caruit consilio et fortitudine, etc.]
Lastly, Fulgentius, [De Incarnatione et Gratia Christi, ad Petrum Diaconum, c. xii. [p. 299. ed. 1684.]] asserts it as a thing to be held undoubted among all Catholics, “That the supreme and true God did to the first man, whom out of His free goodness He made good according to His own image, implanting in him a faculty of knowing and loving Him, not only give the gift of a goodwill, but also create in him a free will, entire and sound, for the having and keeping of that righteousness which was bestowed on him; so that if the faculty and notion of his free will, did not forsake the grace of God assisting it, the goodness of God might bestow on man the reward of eternal life: but if, despising the Divine righteousness, it fell from grace, the justice of God might punish the offender.”* Where he plainly acknowledgeth in the first man, before his fall, not only a natural faculty of free will, created entire and sound, but also a grace of God assisting it, and a divine righteousness to be kept and preserved by it. So a little after he hath these express words; “ Therefore the first man, being created out of the earth, earthly, received indeed the grace whereby he could not sin, if he would not sin, but he had not yet so great a grace, as whereby he neither would at all nor could sin ‘.” It were easy to go on in the proof of this doctrine, out of the succeeding writers approved in the Church, and out of the schoolmen themselves; but it is already well known and confessed, that they were all generally of this opinion.
*[Summum et verum Deum, primo homini, quem ad suam imaginem gratuita bonitate bonum fecit, cui facultatem quoque suae cognitionis cc dilectionis inseruit, non solum bonae voluntatis donum, quin etiam ad habendam custodiendamque justitiam, integrum sanumque creasse libertatis arbitrium, ut facultas atque motus inditae libertatis si juvantem se gratiam Dei non desererct, praemium vitae aeternae tribueret Dei bonitas homini: si autem justitiam divinam contemnens, a gratia excidisset, supplicia retribuerit justitia peccatori.]
*[Creatus ergo primus homo de terra terrenus accepit quidem gratiam, qua non posset peccare, si peccare nollet, nondum tamen tantam acceperat gratiam, qua nec peccare vellet omnino nec posset, etc.]
Now before I proceed to take off the objections against this doctrine, and to shew the great use of it, it will be necessary to reflect a little upon the testimonies alleged, and to take notice of a difficulty in them, which if not satisfied may greatly weaken, if not wholly blast, their credit and authority. It is easily observed, that almost all the Fathers, whose testimonies we have produced, do place the image and similitude of God, after which the first man is said to be created, [Gen. 1:27.] especially in those supernatural powers, gifts, or graces, wherewith they suppose him to be furnished in his creation. At this (I doubt not) the Socinian will laugh in his sleeve, and from this one discovery will be apt presently to conclude for certain, that this notion of the Fathers, asserting a supernatural righteousness in the first man, was a mere dream, an idle fancy of theirs, as being founded on a manifest falsehood. For, saith he, what can be more apparent, than that the image and likeness of God, after which the first man is said to be created, [Gen. 1:27.] is placed only in his dominion over the other creatures in this visible world? For after God had said, “Let us make man after our own image and likeness,” he immediately adds, “and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, etc.” Where seeing the latter words are exegetical of the former, it follows, that by the image of God is meant man’s dominion over the brutes. And in this argument the Socinians boast as if it were a perfect demonstration. But I have learnt long since to despise the confidence of this kind of men, as having by many experiments found, that their greatest strength, where they oppose the sense of the Catholic Church, is perfect weakness. Sure I am, that this great argument of theirs is a mere inconsequence.
For, 1. There is no necessity arising from the text itself, that we should grant the latter words to be exegetical of the former; for they may be understood only as consequent to the former, that is, so as to express, not the nature of the Divine image, but what followed thereupon in the first man.
But, 2. Let us grant that there is an ________ in the words, and that the dominion mentioned in the latter part of the text, is an exposition of the Divine image mentioned in the former words; what then? doth it thence follow that the dominion constitutes the whole and entire image of God, after which the first man is said to be created? Surely no. It is sufficient, that it be acknowledged as a part of the Divine image. For we find often in Scripture, that what is in one place in part only described, is otherwhere fully explained in all its parts: whereof the one being described in one text, the rest are not to be denied which are otherwhere explained. Ab inclusiva ad exclusivam non valet consequentia. Although therefore we willingly grant, that man’s dominion over the other creatures belongs to that image of God after which he is said to be created, yet it doth not thence follow, that this dominion makes up the full complete and adequate definition of that Divine image.
3. We have already observed, that Moses, in the history of the creation, designed to lead the rude and carnal people of the Jews from things sensible and obvious, to the invisible things of God. Hence in the instance now before us, having related the words of God, “Let us make man after our own image, etc.” he presently adds, “and let him have dominion, etc.” not to signify that this was the chief part, much less the whole of the Divine image in man, but because in this dominion, as an effect obvious to sense, it more plainly appeared, that man was made after the image of God. Let us look to the words presently following [Verse 28.]; concerning the Divine benediction upon our first parents; in the beginning of the verse it is said, “And God blessed them;” and immediately it is added, “and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, etc.” Let now some novice out of the Racovian school step forth and tell us, that the latter words are exegetical of the former; and, consequently, that the Divine benediction, mentioned in the beginning of the verse, extended no farther than the effects immediately expressed in the following words; that is, that our first parents were blessed by God to no other purposes than that of begetting children, and exercising dominion over the brute creatures; and so that they were not at all designed or consecrated to those higher ends of increasing and being fruitful in virtue, of subduing and keeping their lower and brutish faculties in a due order and obedience to the __ __________, of glorifying the God that made them, and of attaining a farther happiness by obedience to His precepts: who would not presently discern the perfect brutishness of this kind of reasoning? and yet this is every whit as wise a discourse as that of Socinus, concerning the Divine image now under our examination.
4. The image of God is a comprehensive thing, and there are many lines requisite to complete the Divine similitude, after which the first man was created. To this belongs man’s intellective power, his liberty of will, his dominion over the other creatures flowing from the two former. These make up the __ ________, that part of that Divine image which is natural and essential to man, and consequently can never be wholly blotted out, defaced, or extinguished, but still remains even in man fallen. But beside these, the Church of God hath ever acknowledged, in the first man, certain additional ornaments, and, as it were, complements of the Divine image, such as immortality, grace, holiness, righteousness, whereby man approached more nearly to the similitude and likeness of God. These were (if I may so speak) the lively colours wherein the grace, the beauty, and luster of the Divine image principally consisted; these colours faded, yea, were defaced and blotted out by man’s transgression.
St. Gregory Nyssen [Lib. de Hom. Opificio, c. 4. [vol. i. p. 53.]] sets forth this by a most apt and elegant similitude, comparing the animated and living effigies of that great King with the image of the Emperor, which is so expressed by the hand of the artificer, either in sculpture or picture, as to represent the very dress and ensigns of the royal majesty, such as the purple robe, the scepter, and the diadem. For as the Emperor’s image doth represent, not only his countenance and the figure of his body, and as it were his substance, but also his dress and ornaments, and royal ensigns; so man doth then perfectly represent in himself the image and similitude of God, when to the good things of nature, which cannot be blotted out or extinguished, the ornaments of grace and virtue also are added: when man’s nature is (as he saith) “not clothed with purple, or vaunting its dignity by a scepter or a diadem (for the archetype consists not in such things as these); but instead of purple is clothed with virtue, which is of all other the most royal vestment; and, for a scepter, is supported by a blessed immortality; and instead of a diadem, is adorned with a crown of righteousness.”*
*[__ Ļ________ Ļ__________, ____ ___Ļ___ ___ _________ ___ _____ _Ļ____________ ____ ___ __ ______Ļ__ __ _______ ______ ___’ ____ ___ ___ __________ ___ ______ __________, _ __ Ļ_____ _____________ _________ _____. ____ __ ___ ___Ļ____, __ ___________ ___ _________ __________, ____ __ ___ _________ __________, __ ___ ___________ _______ ___________.]
Now that these supernatural ornaments and perfections were a part, and a chief part of the image of God, after which the first man is said to be created, is not an idle dream or fancy of the Christian writers, but was a notion received and acknowledged in the Jewish Church many years before our Saviour’s appearance in the flesh. This is very manifest from the almost divine author of the Book of Wisdom, which was always entertained in the Christian Church with a reverence next to that which they paid to the divinely inspired writings. For he tells us, [Chapter 2:23.] that “God created man for immortality, (_Ļ’ ________, for an incorruptible estate,) and made him the image of His own propriety.” [[In our version we read “eternity”. Grabe’s edition gives the two readings __________ and _________.]] Where he manifestly placeth the image of God, after which Adam was created (that is, the chief excellency and perfection thereof), in this, that he was made and designed for an immortal and incorruptible estate, and consequently fitted with powers and faculties proportioned to such an end. This blessed immortality was the ____ _______, “the proper propriety” (which by a barbarous elegancy signifies “the most especial propriety”) of the Divine nature, by the participation whereof man made the nearest approach to the Divine image and similitude. Let the dull and heavy Divines of Racovia yet think so Ļ_____ ___ __Ļ_____, “poorly and meanly,” concerning the Divine image, after which the first man was created, as to confine it to that little lordship (egregiam vero laudem!) which man enjoyed over the brute creatures; let them, I say, consider the words of this ancient author, (living in those darker times, before the clearer revelation of Divine truth by our blessed Saviour,) and from him learn to correct this their gross and even palpable error.
The same is evident out of Philo the Jew, who bordered upon the very age of our Saviour’s incarnation. In him you shall frequently meet with this more sublime notion of the Divine image and similitude. So [Lib. Quod Det. Potiori insid. soleat, p. 171.] having told us, that they only, who are acquainted with the writings of the divinely-inspired Moses, can give a true account how man attains to the knowledge of the invisible God, he presently after expresseth the sense of the Mosaic narration in these words; “He speaks to this purpose. The Creator made not any soul (enclosed) in a body apt of itself to see or know its Maker. But yet considering how hugely advantageous such knowledge would be unto the creature if it had it (for this is the utmost bound of happiness and felicity), He inspired into it from above something of His own Divinity; which, being invisible, impressed upon the invisible soul its own characters, that so even this earthly region might not be without a creature made after the image of God.”* Where he manifestly placeth the image of God (i.e. the perfection thereof), after which Adam was created, in those divine characters which were impressed on his soul in his creation, or in the supernatural gift and faculty whereby he was enabled to attain the vision and perfect knowledge of God; and he also asserts, that this was the recondite sense of Moses’s words in the history of man’s creation. The same notion of the Divine image he otherwhere [Lib. de Plantatione Noe, p. 216, 217.] delivers more clearly and expressly in these words; “The great Moses makes not the species of the rational soul to be like to any of the creatures, but pronounceth it to be the image of the invisible God; as judging (the soul) then to become the true and genuine coin of God, when it is formed and impressed by the Divine seal, the character whereof is the eternal Word. For God, saith he, breathed into his face the breath of life. So that he that receives the inspiration, must of necessity represent the image of Him that gives it. Therefore it is said, that man was made after the image of God.”** And he presently after tells us, that by the same Divine Spirit, which fashioned man after the image of God, man’s soul was exalted and lifted up “to the highest altitude.***
*[_____ __ ___, _____ ________ __ ______ _ Ļ____ _________ ______ __ ______ ___ Ļ______ ______ ___________ __ ______ _______ __ ___________, __ _____ ___ _______________ ________ ___________ ___ ___ ____________ ____ ______ ______ ___Ļ___ ___ _____ __________ _ _’ _______ ______ ____ ____ ______ __Ļ___ _____________, ___ ___’ _ Ļ________ _____ _______ ________ ____. [vol. i. p. 208.]]
**[_ __ _____ ______ ______ ___ _________ ___ _______ _____ __ _____ ________, ___’ __Ļ__ ___ _____ ___ _______ ______, _______ _____ _______, ___________ ___ __Ļ_______ ________ ____, __ _ ________ _____ ______ _____. ___Ļ_____ ___, _____, _ ____ ___ __ Ļ____Ļ__ _____ Ļ____ _____ ____ ______ Ļ___ ___ __Ļ__Ļ____ ___ _________ _Ļ___________ ___ ___ _______ ___’ ______ ____ ___ _____Ļ__ __________. [vol. i. p. 332.]]
***[____ ________ ____. To the same purpose speaketh Philo, ____ _______ ____, ______ ___ _______ _____ _______ _ ___ ___’ ______, __ ______, ___’ ________, Phil. Allegor. l. i. p. 57. ______ _____ _____Ļ__, __ ___ ____ ________ ___ _______ _________ __ __ ______ ___ ______ _____ _______ _____ __ _____ Ļ_____ ____ ___, ______ __ _____ _______ _______ __________ ______ __ _____ __ _______ _ Ļ_Ļ________ ____ ____ ___ _____________ ______ ________ ___ __ ____. Idem lib. Quis Rerum Divin. Haeres. p. 489. [vol. i. p. 481.]]
Now it being thus apparent, that this more sublime notion of the Divine image, after which the first man is said to be created, was so anciently received and acknowledged in the Jewish Church, and also so universally entertained in the Churches of Christ planted by the Apostles, it would seem very strange to me, if any rational man should doubt of the sense of St. Paul’s words (were they not of themselves plain enough), which we read Col. 3:9–10; “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in, knowledge AFTER THE IMAGE of Him that created him.” With which place you may compare that of the same Apostle. [Eph. 4:24.] Surely Mr. Calvin’s collection is here most genuine, who from the text alleged draws this inference: “Hence we learn both what is the end of our regeneration, to wit, that we be made like unto God, and that His glory may shine brightly in us; and also what is that image of God, of which mention is made in the history of Moses; namely, the rectitude and integrity of the whole soul, whereby man, as it were in a glass, represents the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God.”* Indeed (laying aside that reverence which we owe to so consentient a judgment of the Church of God, both before and after Christ) there is light enough in the text itself (as we have already intimated) to direct us to this interpretation. For St. Paul affirms the Ephesians _____________, “to be renewed,” after this image of the Creator. Now to be “renewed,” most properly signifies “to receive again something which we once had, but lost.” So the active verb ____________ is manifestly used, Heb. 6:6. And so also the Hebrew word very often signifies, “to restore a thing unto its former estate,” as Psalm 103:5, Lam. 5:21. Man therefore once before had (viz. in the state of integrity) that image of God, to which he is formed and fashioned again by the grace of Christ the Redeemer. So the apostolical writer, Irenaeus, [v. 12.] paraphraseth on the place; “In that he saith, ‘who is renewed in knowledge,’ he shews that the very man, who before was ignorant of God, is by the knowledge of Him renewed. For the knowledge of God renews a man. And in that he saith, ‘according to the image of the Creator,’ he expresseth the restoration of that man, who was in the beginning made after the image of God.”** And what the same Irenaeus otherwhere tells us [iii. 20. [c. 18. p. 209.]] is apparently the sense of the Catholic Church, viz. “That what we lost in Adam, to wit, the Divine image and similitude, that we receive again in Christ Jesus.” [Ut quod perdideramus in Adam, id est, secundum imaginem et similitudinem esse Dei, hoc in Christo Jesu reciperemus.]
*[Hinc discimus, tum quis sit finis regenerationis nostrae, hoc est, ut Deo reddamur similes, ac in nobis reluceat ejus gloria: tum quae sit Dei imago, cujus mentio fit spud Mosem, nempe totius animae rectitudo et integritas, ita ut homo sapientiam Dei, justitiam, et bonitatem quasi speculum repraesentet. Calvin in Col. 3:10.]
**[In eo quod sit, qui renovatur in agnitionem, demonstrabat quoniam ipse ille qui ignorantiae erat ante homo, id est, ignorans Deum per eam quae in eum est agnitionem renovatur. Agnitio enim Dei renovat hominem. Et in eo quod dicit, secundum imaginem Conditoris, recapitulationem manifestavit ejus hominis, qui in initio secundum imaginem factus est Dei.]
I am sensible that my zeal of vindicating the Catholic doctrine hath carried me a little beyond my design. To return again to the matter proposed, it is abundantly manifest from the many testimonies alleged, that the ancient Doctors of the Church did with a general consent acknowledge, that our first parents in the state of integrity had in them something more than nature, that is, were endowed with the divine principle of the Spirit, in order to a supernatural felicity. Yet the most learned Grotius will by no means grant this hypothesis. He acknowledgeth indeed, innocentiam quandam fuisse in Adamo priusquam peccavit (and we owe him no thanks for that concession; for Socinus will confess as much; and Grotius himself tells us, [Vide Grot. Not. in Cassand. ad Art. 2. et Vot. pro Pace ad eundem artic. et discus. p. 30.] that be is not well in his wits that shall deny it), but that Adam in the state of integrity was spiritual, or had any thing of the Holy Spirit in him, he will by no means admit of. A M311 might well expect, that so learned a man as Grotius was, and otherwise so great a reverencer of antiquity, should not without most evident masons maintain an opinion so manifestly thwarting the stream and current of the Catholic Doctors. But alas! he hath but one argument to defend his hypothesis, and that argument too, when examined, will appear to be a very weak one, yea, a very gross fallacy. The argument is this, “St. Paul, when [1 Cor. 15:45.] he opposeth the earthly Adam to the spiritual Adam, considers Adam as he was at first created, and not as fallen, etc. whence it follows, that we have another kind of nature from Christ, than we should have had, if Adam had remained in his first estate, and begotten children like himself.” [Vot. pro Pace ad Art. 2.]
With the same weapon an author, very ancient, but disallowed and censured by the learned as one that prepared the way for the Pelagian heresy, oppugned of old this Catholic doctrine; I mean the author of The Book of Questions out of the Old and New Testament, which by a gross mistake usurps a place among the works of St. Augustin. The 123rd Question, which he propounds, is this, “Whether Adam had the Holy Spirit?” And in the entrance to his resolution of this question he tells us, “that this was indeed affirmed by the generality of Christians in his time upon this ground, that we receive in the second Adam what we lost in the first.” But he declares his own opinion to the contrary, and proves it from the aforementioned text. [1 Cor. 15:45, etc.] From whence he thus argues; “What is more manifest, than that Adam had not the Holy Spirit? for he was made a living soul, and it is by Christ that man is made a quickening spirit.” [Quid tam apertum, quam quod Adam non habuit Spiritum S.? factus est enim in animam viventem [or Christum autem in spiritum vivificantem.] But it is apparent, that the text alleged hath quite another sense [See St. Austin excellently explaining the text, De Civitat. Dei, xiii. 23.] than what is supposed in this objection. For the Apostle in that chapter, discoursing of the resurrection of the body, shews, in the verses referred to, the difference betwixt the body of man, considered not only in the state wherein it was after the fall, but as it was at first created, and the glorious body which Christ received in His resurrection, and we expect in ours. The difference is this; that the first Adam (as likewise all that descend from him) needed meat and drink, and other external helps, for the conservation of his body: but Christ, the second Adam, after His resurrection, received a body in its own nature, and by an internal principle immortal; and the like body is promised to all those that believe in Christ at the last and general resurrection. And what is all this to the purpose of the objectors? Surely there is no repugnancy at all betwixt those two propositions, that Adam before his fall had an animal body in the sense explained, and that Adam in the same state and condition had a spiritual soul, or a soul elevated and raised by the Divine Spirit. For both these meet together in every true Christian, only with this difference, that our bodies now are not only in a possibility, but under a necessity of dying, the sentence of death being passed on every man; but the body of the first man, although it was in its own principles mortal and subject to death and corruption, yet it should never have died, if man had not sinned, but should have been preserved by the special grace and favour of God to an incorruptible estate. Nay, this argument of the objectors may be retorted upon themselves thus; It is evident from the Scriptures, and the perpetual tradition of the Church (and Grotius himself confesseth as much) that the first man, whose body was of itself an3 in its own nature earthly, and so mortal, should yet by the grace of God, and by a certain Divine power (of which the tree of life was a Sacrament), having persevered in a blessed immortality, and never have died if he had not sinned. Therefore the protoplast had a gift of grace and supernatural power granted him as to his body, whereby that should have been elevated and raised above its natural constitution; and why then should we so pertinaciously refuse to acknowledge a like supernatural gift afforded him as to his soul?
And now seeing we have left the judgment of the Church, and are fallen to our own reasonings, I crave leave to take my turn, and to propose an argument or two (as an overplus to those reasons that have been above suggested) in vindication of this doctrine of the Catholic Fathers, taken out of the history of the primitive state of the first man, as it is delivered by Moses himself. And these arguments, if they be not demonstrative, yet sure I am they are far more considerable than anything that hath been yet produced in defense of the contrary novel opinion.
1. It is apparent from the account of Moses, that the first man in the state of integrity was (as we have heard Tertullian expressing it) Deo de proximo amicus, “the intimate friend of God,” that he could coelestia portare, “bear heavenly things,” and sustain the approaches of the Shekinah, or majestic presence of God, without any regret or starting back; that he could maintain a conference or discourse with God (as we have heard St. Basil speaking) in the same tongue or language, as we read Gen. 2:15–16, 19–23. Now for any man to think that a merely animal creature (such as the learned men we now oppose fancy Adam in his best estate to have been) could be admitted to, or whilst such, fit for, so divine a converse, seems to me a very senseless imagination, and so (I doubt not but) it will appear to any man that shall more closely consider the matter. No creature can bear the Divine Presence, that is not prepared for it by the Divine Spirit. And man’s communion, friendship, and converse with God, necessarily imports an union with Him, and the bond of the union is certainly the Divine Spirit. [See 1 Cor. 6:17.]
2. It is likewise evident from the same history of Moses, that Adam in the state of integrity, had a knowledge of certain things, unaccountable upon any other hypothesis but this, that his mind was irradiated with a divine illumination.
I might here insist upon that admirable philosophy-lecture, which Adam (appointed by God Himself to that office) read on all the other animals. For although his theme here was a part of natural philosophy, yet his performance herein, if we look to its circumstances, cannot but be judged by every considering man to be the effect of a more than human sagacity.* That in the infinite variety of creatures, never before seen by Adam, he should be able on a sudden, without study or premeditation, to give names to each of them, so adapted and fitted to their natures, as that God Himself should approve the nomenclature, how astonishing a thing is it! What single man, among all the philosophers since the fall, what Plato, what Aristotle, etc. among the ancients, what Descartes or Gassendus, etc. among the moderns, nay, what royal society, durst have undertaken this? Hence Plato himself (in Cratylo) acknowledged) the man that first imposed names on things, to have been the wisest of mortals, nay he affirms him to have had something more than human in him. His words are these; “I suppose (O Socrates) the truest account of the problem to be this, that a certain power more than human imposed the first names on things.”**
*[________ ___ ___ _____ ___ ________ _____ __ Ļ_____ ______ ___ ___ _________ __ ______ _____ __ _______ _________ ___ ____________ ______ ______ _________, etc. Philo de Munch Opific. p. 34. [vol. i. p. 35.]]
**[_____ ___ ___ ___ ___________ _____ Ļ___ ______ _____, _ ________, _______ ____ _______ _____ _ _____Ļ____, ___ _______ __ Ļ____ _______ ____ Ļ_______. See also what Procopius speaks to the same effect; Adamus non sine singulari prudentia et solertia, quam a Deo accepit, nomina dat creaturis, quae: ipsarum substantias quasi in speculo repraesentent. Procop. ad c. 2. Genes. p. 57. edit. Tigur.]
But to let this pass. We read that Adam no sooner saw his wife brought unto him by God (who was pleased to honour that first and most glorious wedding, solemnized in paradise itself, by performing the office of a matrimonial Father, in giving and presenting the bride with His own hands), but he presently gave an exact account of her original, viz. That she was taken out of himself, and imposed on her a name accordingly; although whilst the admirable operation was performing in him, he lay in the profoundest sleep, and so could be no way sensible thereof. For thus we read expressly, [Gen. 2:21–23.] “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”
Now whence could Adam have this knowledge?* He might indeed from the conformity of the parts of that goodly creature presented to his eye, and her nearest likeness to himself, guess that God had now provided him the meet help which before he wanted; but it is scarce imaginable how he could so punctually describe her original, and the manner of her formation, otherwise than by a secret inspiration and internal suggestion of the Divine Spirit. Besides, the words following, [Verse 24.] “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh,” are manifestly enough the continuation of Adam’s discourse, transferring the former hypothesis into a thesis: as if he had said, As God hath joined me with my woman into one flesh, so from henceforth every husband shall obey this order established by heaven, and, leaving his dearest parents, cleave unto his wife as his own flesh. Our Saviour, [Matt. 19:5.] attributes these words to God, because Adam uttered them by a spirit of prophecy. And this interpretation we meet with in the ancient fragments of Polycarp, [Printed by Feuardentius, at the end of his Annotat on c. 2. l. iii. Iren. p. 241.] cited by Victor, Bishop of Capua, above one thousand two hundred years ago. The sum is this, “Both Adam uttered this prophecy, and God the Father also is rightly said to have uttered the same, because He inspired him.” [Et Adam hanc prophetiam protulit, et Pater, qui eum inspiravit, recte dicitur protulisse.] Hence Origen, and others of the Fathers, reckon Adam among the divinely-inspired persons, and expressly term him a prophet.
*[Adamus ista omnia prolocutus est divino et prophetico inspiratus Spiritu. Nec enim propriis viribus, ex qua materia et in quem finem mulier condita fuerit, cognoscere quivisset. Procopius ad c. 2. Genes. p. 58.]
And the “deep sleep,” which Adam was cast into before God formed Eve out of him, the ancient Christian writers generally understand to have been designed by God, not only as an expedient for the performance of the wonderful operation in him, without sense of pain, but also as an ________, to prepare him for the receiving of that Divine oracle, which presently upon his awaking he uttered. Like that “deep sleep” which God sent upon Abraham, when by the spirit of prophecy he would acquaint him with those events which were to happen to his posterity some ages after. [Gen. 15:12, etc. See Acts 10:10 and 22:17.]
Thus Tertullian, speaking of the sleep that fell upon Adam, and the words that he afterwards uttered, “There fell an ecstasy upon him, even the power of the Holy Ghost, causing him to prophesy.” [Cecidit ecstasis super illum, Sancti Spiritus vis, operatrix prophetiae. Lib. de Anima, c. 11. n. 144. Vide et c. 21. ejusdem libri.] And we find the same notion expressly delivered by many others of the ancients. [See especially St. Austin, lib. ix. de Genes. ad lit. cap. ult. and Bernard. Serm. II. Septuages.] Let me add hereto, that Philo also, the most ancient and learned writer among the Jews, acknowledgeth this sleep on Adam to have been an ecstasy, interpreting the ecstasy to have been a kind of recess of the soul from the body, and bodily senses, in order to the more calm and serene contemplation of Divine things. For his words, speaking of this place of Moses, [Lib. Quis rerum Divin. Haeres. p. 517.] are these; “God sent,” saith he, “an ecstasy upon Adam, and laid him into a deep sleep; understanding by an ecstasy the quiet and tranquility of the mind. For the sleep of the mind is the waking of the senses, as also the waking of the mind is the leisure of the senses.” [_Ļ_____ ___ _ ____, _____, ________ _Ļ_ ___ ____, ___ _Ļ_____, ________ ___ _______ ___ _______ ___ ___ Ļ____________ _Ļ___ ___ ___, _________ _____ __________ ___ ___ __ __________ ___ ________, _________ _Ļ_____.]
Thus you see, that if we look no farther than the bare literal account of Moses concerning the first man, we have no reason at all to conceive him a creature so merely animal, so wholly void of the Spirit of God, as the low and plainly animal discourse of divers learned men hath represented him; yea, that we have great reasons to entertain a quite contrary conception of him; and that if we regard the sense of the Catholic Church, both before and since our Saviour, it ought to be held for certain, that the protoplast was in the state of integrity endowed with a principle of the divine life, or the gift of the Spirit of God, in order to the attaining of that celestial bliss, to which also in the gracious purpose of God he was designed.
You will now (I hope) excuse me, that I have dwelt so long in the demonstration of these hypotheses, stepping aside at every turn to meet with those little scruples which have been raised against them by adversaries of different interests. For I gave you fair warning beforehand, that you were to expect this trouble from me, and told you my reason, viz. that I look on them as the two main pillars of the Catholic doctrine, Concerning the Fall of the first Man, and the sad Consequents thereof as to his Posterity. And I do again profess, that I can by no means understand how that doctrine can be intelligibly explained, or rationally defended, otherwise than upon the foundation of the said Hypotheses. For if it be once granted, that man in his first and best estate was a creature merely animal, I challenge any man to shew me, wherein that great fall of mankind, of which the scriptures and the writings of the Catholic Doctors from the days of the Apostles to our present age so loudly ring, can be imagined to consist?
Qui cadit in terrain non habet unde cadat.
According to this hypothesis, Man before the fall was but an earthly animal creature, and he is no worse now since the fall. Besides, you will find in the sequel of my discourse, that these principles have a mighty influence on the determination of divers important questions in debate betwixt my adversary and myself, and that upon the admission of these, some of the main foundations of his book written against me, are not only shaken but utterly subverted: which consideration, I confess, induced me to be much larger in explaining these things than otherwise I should have been, if I had intended only an answer to your letter. In the meantime (that you may not live wholly upon promises, but see something of performance), I shall in general shew you the great use of this doctrine in three considerable instances.
First, You may gather hence a clear solution of that question so hotly agitated amongst modern Divines; “Whether the original righteousness of the first man was supernatural?” [An justitia originalis fuerit primo homini supernaturalis?] For the meaning of this question, if it signify anything to any considerable purpose, is clearly this; whether Adam in the state of integrity needed a supernatural principle or power, in order to the performing of such a righteousness, as, through the gracious acceptance of God, should have been available to an eternal and celestial life and happiness? And the question being thus stated, ought to be held in the affirmative, if the consentient determination of the Church of God may be allowed its due weight in the balance of our judgments. There is a sense indeed, wherein we may safely acknowledge the original righteousness of the first man to have been natural, and it is this; that he received the principle of that righteousness a nativitate sua, “from his nativity,” in his very creation, and together with his nature. For this (as we have above shewn) is generally confessed by the Catholic Doctors, who teach us, that Adam received the principle of the natural and the divine life at the same time, and by the same insulation of God, mentioned Gen. 2:7. Others declare themselves, in their affirming the original righteousness of the first man to have been natural, to mean no more than this, That Adam had by nature a remote power of performing such righteousness, but that he needed a supernatural assistance to bring this power into act; that is (to speak more plainly), he had natural faculties capable of doing this, if excited, raised, elevated, and assisted by a Divine grace. And who in his wits will deny this? Yet thus the famous Tilenus (even before he turned to the Remonstrants, and when he was yet in flagrant favour with his countrymen) explains this doctrine, [Syntag. Disput. Theolog. par. i. disp. 32. n. 35–38.] using this similitude; “As the vine doth not therefore want a natural power to bring forth wine, because it needs those external helps of the sun, and rain, and culture, to its actual bringing forth; so also in Adam, the rectitude of his will, and the good order of his affections, was nevertheless natural, although, in actu secundo, it was excited and assisted by the help of moving grace.” [Quemadmodum vitis non propterea caret vi naturali ad proferendum vinum, quod externis illi opus est auxiliis, puta sole, pluvia, et cultura, ut actu proferat: Sic et in Adamo non ideo naturalis non fuit voluntatis rectitudo, et affectum _______, licet in actu secundo, gratiae moventis auxilio excitaretur et adjuvaretur.] Now this similitude (I say) we willingly admit, allowing for the difference betwixt natural and free agents. For hereby is signified, that Adam in the state of integrity had naturally, and without the aid of the Divine Spirit, no more power to perform a righteousness available to eternal life, than the vine hath to bring forth wine, without the warm influence of the sun, and the dew of heaven, and dressing: which concession grants as much as any sober man will contend for. And yet the same learned man a little after doth plainly enough confess, that the doctrine of those Protestant writers, that affirm the original righteousness of the first man to have been natural, cannot be excused from Pelagianism, unless it be thus explained.
Hence some, even of the systematic writers, stick not in direct terms to acknowledge, That those perfections, wherein the original righteousness of the first man is granted by all to consist, were supernatural to him. I shall produce one testimony, which may be instar omnium, and it is the testimony of Wollebius, whose system hath been so thumbed by young students in theology. His words [Christ. Theol. l. i. c. 8. Can. 8–10.] are these; “The gifts belonging to the image of God, were partly natural, partly supernatural. The natural were the soul, a simple and invisible substance, and its faculties, viz. understanding and will. The supernatural were, the clearness of the understanding, [Viz. In reference to supernatural acts or objects.] the liberty and rectitude of the will, the conformity of the appetites or affections, the immortality of the whole man, etc.”* But enough of this.
*[Imaginis Dei dona partim naturalia, partim supernaturalia erant. Naturalia erant anima simplex ac invisibilis substantia, ejusque facultates, intellectus nimirum et voluntas. Supernaturalia erant, intellectus claritas, voluntatis libertas et rectitudo, appetituum seu affectuum conformitas, totius hominis immortalitas, etc.]
Secondly, Upon the foundations laid, you may raise an impregnable argument to evince the absolute necessity of Divine grace in man fallen, in order to the performance of that righteousness which is required unto his eternal salvation, against the heresy of Pelagius. The argument is by the above- mentioned learned man, Daniel Tilenus, [Syntag. Disput Theolog. par. i. disp. 34. n. 24.] formed a majori ad minus thus, “If the natural man, even in the state of integrity, could not of himself attain to a supernatural end, with what face can he now, in the state of corruption, arrogate to himself so great a strength and confidence?” [Si homo _______, ne in integra quidem natura, supernaturalem finem per se erat assecturus; qua fronte tantum roboris, aut fiduciae, sibi arroget corruptus?] But what need I fly to the testimonies of single authors, especially moderns? We find this argument expressly made use of by the Council of Orange, purposely called against the heresy of Pelagius reviving in France. [Concil. Arausican. c. 19. Inter Opera August. tom. vii. p. 614. edit. Paris. 1635.] The words of the holy Fathers, assembled in that Council, are these; “The nature of man, if it had remained in that integrity wherein it was created, could by no means have saved itself without the assistance of its Creator. Wherefore seeing, without the grace of God, it could not keep the salvation which it had received, how can it possibly without the grace of God recover that which it hath lost?” [Natura humana, etiamsi in illa integritate, in qua est condita, permaneret, nullo modo seipsam, creatore suo non adjuvante, servaret. Unde cum sine gratia Dei salutem non possit custodire, quam accepit, quomodo sine Dei gratia poterit reparare, quad perdidit?]
Lastly, You may from that large account which I have given you of the sense of antiquity, as to the last hypothesis, most certainly assure yourself how unjust a charge that is, which some bold men* have fastened on all the Christian writers before Pelagius, especially on those that flourished within the first three centuries; namely, that they held the same doctrine, which was afterwards condemned by the Church as heretical in Pelagius; exalting the __ ___________ into the throne of the Divine Spirit, and asserting a sufficiency of man’s natural powers in his lapsed estate, without the grace of God, to perform those things which conduce unto eternal life. For you may now evidently discern, that those excellent persons were so far from this persuasion, that they believed an absolute necessity of a divine and supernatural principle, even in man entire, to raise and elevate his natural powers unto the attainment of so high an end. And this notion you nowhere find more clearly delivered, than it is by the writers of the first three hundred years. Many learned men have, with a laudable zeal, stood up in vindication of the holy Fathers and Martyrs from this foul calumny, and have more than sufficiently done it, by amassing many testimonies out of their writings, wherein they expressly acknowledge an absolute necessity of the Divine grace, and the operation of the Holy Spirit in lapsed man, in order to his eternal salvation. But none of them (that I have yet met with) hath made use of this notion, which yet runs (as it were) in a continued vein through the writings of all the primitive Fathers, and strikes (as we but now observed) at the very heart of the Pelagian heresy.
*[Among the rest, our countryman Mr. Baxter tells us, “Yet the truth is, most, if not all the Fathers of the first two hundred or three hundred years do speak in a language seeming to lean strongly that way. – But the plain truth is, till Pelagius’s days, all spoke like Pelagian.” Saints’ Rest, part i. p. 154.]
Thus I have returned a very large answer to the enquiry, concerning the covenant of life made with man in the state of integrity, much larger, I believe, than was expected, and, I am sure, than I at first intended. For I have scarce, I think, omitted anything which might be said of that covenant with any certainty, either from the express dictates of the sacred oracles, or from the consent of the Catholic Church, the best guide we can follow in those cases wherein the Holy Scriptures speak less plainly.