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Written by Wilson Thompson   


DISCOURSE II.

On The Divinity of Christ.

As we have treated on the being of God in the foregoing discourse, we shall devote this, to the divine nature of Jesus Christ; and attempt to prove that his divinity, is not another, but the same God described in the foregoing.

The divine nature of Christ has long been a subject of dispute; in the christian world, some have become warm advocates on the one side, and some on the other, arguments have been used on both sides, and when those were found too weak to convince, or to unite the parties, persecution and the sword, or fire and fagot, were used in order to supply the place of more weighty arguments. Thus the church of Rome and the Arians contended with each other, but after all, the case is not decided, in the mind of the public, America hath not had its fertile soil stained with the martyrs blood, in this debate; but the church of Christ; even in America, has suffered greatly, on account of division of sentiment on this subject, within thirty years past; some pieces have been published, on both sides of the question; and perhaps they have both run to an extreme, in some things; for I have discovered that the Trinitarians, have uniformly endeavoured to prove, three persons distinct in the Godhead; and that each person is truly and properly God. In this point they have failed, and ever must fail. The Arians on this account charge them with worshiping a family of Gods, and are emboldened in denying to acknowledge, or worship any God but the Father. In this part of our work, we shall pay no attention, to any former opinions of men or parties, but endeavour to follow the scripture, as our only rule , and from it argue the case, against errors on every side of truth, as the case may require and truth demand.

First, We shall attempt to prove that the divine nature of Christ is very God.
Secondly, That he is not distinct from the Father, but he is the Father.
Thirdly, Show that there is no other God worthy to be worshiped but the God in Christ.

1. We are not to attempt to prove, that the divine nature of Christ is very God.

That the divine nature of Christ, is very God; is evident from the following passages, Matt. 1. 23. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted is God with us; 1 Tim. 3. 6. God was manifest in the flesh, Isaiah 9. 6. 7. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace; of the increase of his government, and peace, there shall be no end. Heb. 1. 8. Unto the Son he saith, thy throne O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Those passages are so express to our purpose, that we think it unnecessary to transcribe any more here; for our point is settled, without any comment or illustration; for were we to write a ream of paper, we could do no more, than prove that the divine nature of Christ is God. And this the above passages emphatically declare to be a fact beyond controversy. So we shall proceed, to the second thing proposed, which is to show that the divine nature of Christ, is not distinct from the Father, but is the Father.

2. But for proof of this, that God in Christ is the Father, here the following witnesses, in addition to these quoted in the first head of this discourse, in which we have clearly seen that the divine nature of Christ is God; but he is not another than the Father, but is the Father; See Deut. 32, 39. See how that I, even I, am he and there is no God with me, I kill, and I make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand, Rev. 1. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Col. 1. 16, 17. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth visible and invisible, whither they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things and by him all things consist; thus the scripture abounds with proof, that the whole Godhead dwelt in Christ bodily; and when we speak of the divinity of Christ, we mean no other than the one undivided God, that was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. For he that will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images, when he bringeth his first begotten into the world, saith and let all the angels of God worship him. He is called the only wise God our Saviour; the just God and the Saviour; the true God and eternal life; now if there is any other God, than the God in Christ, he is not a true God, nor a wise God, nor a just God, nor a Saviour; for the above witnesses testifies that the God in Christ is the only potentate the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God our Saviour, so we feel fully justifiable in saying with Paul; Jesus Christ my Lord; and with Thomas, my Lord and my God: for if we like Philip wish to see the Father, Jesus is saying have I been so long with you and hast thou not seen me, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father, believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. I and the Father are one.

Thus we might fill a volume with texts of scriptures that unquestionably prove, that the God in Christ, was none other than the Father. But as in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word should be established; and we have already brought in more than twice that number: we shall pass on to the third thing proposed.

3. To shew that there is no other God worthy to be worshipped but the God in Christ.

The foregoing scriptures abundantly demonstrate, that there is but one God and he in Christ, and as we are commanded to have no other God’s before him, then it is impossible for us to worship any other God without being guilty of a breach of this commandment, and of gross idolatry in so doing. But I am aware of an objection here, from such as would wish to establish the idea, of three distinct persons, in the Godhead; and that we may be rightly understood on this subject, I shall be very particular, and use great plainess of speech, believing that he dividing of the Godhead in to three distinct persons, is unwarrantable from scripture, and it is a mischievous tradition of men, which only is calculated to invelope the truth, and perplex the mind of men, and if we might judge, the most effectual way to make the world abound with Arians, and infidels; for if there are three distinct persons truly and properly God, there must be as certainly, three true and proper Gods, distinct from each other, as three persons distinct from each other; or if there are three distinct persons and each of them truly and properly God, they must be each independent of the other, is not this the same as to say, there are three independent God’s, one in each distinct person. I have seen a good deal of fruitless labour from the press, endeavouring to prove three distinct persons in the Godhead, but it never was, nor never will be proved by scripture; and while we spend our time about words, and persons, and try to prove three distinct persons in the Godhead, by deductions from scripture and implied evidence, we weaken our own side, and give the Arian room to charge us with worshiping three Gods; one in each of the three distinct persons, but I can read nothing in the scripture about those persons; I can read of the glory of God in the face of Jesus, of God manifest in the flesh, and of Christ, who is the brightness of his Fathers glory, and is the express image of his person; and wherever person is mentioned in scripture with refference to God, there is evidently an allusion to the person of Christ, and so it is not persons as of many, but of one which is Christ. The idea of three distinct persons in the Godhead like all the other Popish traditions, is calculated to perplex the mind and introduce, different grades of worship; sometimes worship the person of the father, and this is the highest and greatest solemnity; sometimes prostrate themselves before the persons of the Son, and plead with him to invoke the father in their behalf; and sometimes bow to the Holy Spirit, and we think this is the most likely way, that the worship of saints, relicks and images of the persons of God was introduced; thus they have represented the person of the father as almost concealed in glory, the person of the Son, like a man, and the person of the Holy Ghost like a dove; are these the representations of the Godhead? or, is it not rather changeing the glory, of the incorruptible God into the image of corruptible man, or fowls of the air. The three distinct persons in one undivided God is an unreconcilable assertion; to say that there is but one God, and yet that there are three persons distinct, and each of them truly and properly God; must make a paradoxical appearance to every thinking person, but in order to prove three distinct persons in the Godhead, this text is urged. There are three that bare record in heaven, the Father, the word, and the Holy Ghost, but does this say one word about persons in the Godhead? or does it not undeniably teach that these three are one? now if the three that bare record in heaven, are persons; then the three being one is also person; then it stands thus, there are three persons, that bare record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost; and these three persons, are but one person; but to avoid this perplexity, some would venture to add and read or explain it thus, these three persons are one God; and thus reading, adding, and explaining, (or rather confusing) it conclude their point was proved, but when we cast off all prepossesion, and here the text speak for itself; it is plain: the Father is a name by which we understand God as being the first cause of all created things; and the Word is a name by which he manifest himself in any of his works, or appears in the person, or flesh of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost is a name by which God speaks of himself as an invisible spirit; and thus God in creating the world bears record in heaven, that it is for his glory, they are and were created; God manifest in the flesh bears record of what creation was intended for and makes a display of his glory; and the same God under the name spirit; revealed the heavenly record to holy men of old who wrote the scriptures by inspiration of God, and thus God under the name Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, bears a three fold testimony, but is the same God, for these three are one. Now, reader, if you still believe, in three distinct persons in the Godhead, you must of course believe that each of these contain a third part of the godhead, and that the whole godhead is a compound of those three persons, uniting themselves together and making one compounded God, or else believe; that there are three distinct Gods, one in each distinct person and that they all act in such complete unison, that they are one in agreement of design and operation but I conclude, that by seeing this defect, in the Trinitarian plan of reasoning, have caused some to embrace the Arian plan; others Swedenborg’s opinion, and is a strong temptation to deism, on the one hand, or to the worshiping of a plurality of God’s on the other; but when this thirding of the Godhead, and compounding the three persons into one is left out of sight, we behold the glory of the incorruptible God as with open face, and admire the riches of his mercy and grace, while we hear him declaring himself our Saviour under the three names in which he bears record in heaven, saying under the character of the Father, I am the just God and Saviour; under the character of the Word, there is no other name given under heaven among men by which we must be saved; and under the character of the Holy Ghost, he hath saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; being born of the spirit, we are born of God, and God is our Father, we are born again of an incorruptible seed by the word of God, thus the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, is the same God, by which we are saved and born again, and that which is but one, let no man put asunder. Thus we have seen, that God is not divided, and it naturally follows, there is no other God worthy to be worshiped, than the God in Christ and that his name; which is above every name, every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and of things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And may we all both writer and reader, be united in this record that God hath given of the Father; this record given by the Holy Ghost, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son; and now I close this discourse, by asking the question, what think ye of Christ whose Son is he.

Some take him a creature to be,
A man or an angel at most,
Sure they have not feelings like me;
Nor know themselves wretched and lost.
If ask’d what of Jesus I think,
Although my best thoughts are but poor,
I say he’s my meet and my drink,
My God, and my strength and my store.
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