The Preface

It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be
given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us,
Isa.9:6,) that God would "lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a
tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation," whereon "he
that believeth shall not make haste:" Isa.28:16. Yet was it also
foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be "for
a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense, to both the houses of
Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" so
as that "many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and
be snared, and be taken:" Isa.8:14,15. According unto this promise and
prediction it has fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle
Peter declares concerning the first of them. "Wherefore also," saith
he, "it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not
be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but
unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders
disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of
stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the
word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:" 1

Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always
has been, precious--the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their
souls--every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or
unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and
eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with
everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect,
and obtain deliverance from that woeful apostasy from God, which is
accompanied with--which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously
whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which,
without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought
into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the
firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our
finite natures are capable of, and so conducted unto the eternal
enjoyment of him. For in him "shall all the seed of Israel be
justified, and shall glory;" (Isa.45:25;) for "Israel shall be saved
in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;" they "shall not be ashamed
nor confounded, world without end:" verse 17.

On these and the like accounts, the principal design of their whole
lives unto whom he is thus precious, is to acquaint themselves with
him--the mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God, in his person
and mediation, as revealed unto us in the Scripture, which is "life
eternal;" (John 17:3;)--to trust in him, and unto him, as to all the
everlasting concernments of their souls--to love and honour him with
all their hearts--to endeavour after conformity to him, in all those
characters of divine goodness and holiness which are represented unto
them in him. In these things consist the soul, life, power, beauty,
and efficacy of the Christian religion; without which, whatever
outward ornaments may be put upon its exercise, it is but a useless,
lifeless carcass. The whole of this design is expressed in these
heavenly words of the apostle: (Phil.3:8-12:) "Yea doubtless, and I
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his
death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the
dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already
perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." This is a divine expression of
that frame of heart of that design--which is predominant and
efficacious in them unto whom Christ is precious

But, on the other hand, (according unto the fore-mentioned
prediction,) as he has been a sure foundation unto all that believe,
so he has in like manner been "a stone of stumbling and a rock of
offense unto them that stumble at the word, being disobedient:
whereunto also they were appointed." There is nothing in him--nothing
wherein he is concerned--nothing of him, his person, his natures, his
office, his grace, his love, his power, his authority, his relation
unto the church--but it has been unto many a stone of stumbling and
rock of offense. Concerning these things have been all the woeful
contests which have fallen out and been managed among those that
outwardly have made profession of the Christian religion. And the
contentions about them do rather increase than abate, unto this very
day; the dismal fruits whereof the world groaneth under, and is no
longer able to bear. For, as the opposition unto the Lord Christ in
these things, by men of perverse minds, has ruined their own souls--as
having dashed themselves in pieces against this everlasting rock--so
in conjunction with other lusts and interests of the carnal minds of
men, it has filled the world itself with blood and confusion.

The re-enthroning of the Person, Spirit, Grace, and authority of
Christ, in the hearts and consciences of men, is the only way whereby
an end may be put unto these woeful conflicts. But this is not to be
expected in any degree of perfection amongst them who stumble at this
stone of offense, whereunto they were appointed; though in the issue
he will herein also send forth judgment unto victory, and all the meek
of the earth shall follow after it. In the meantime, as those unto
whom he is thus a rock of offence--in his person, his spirit, his
grace, his office, and authority--are diligent and restless (in their
various ways and forms, in lesser or higher degrees, in secret
artifices, or open contradictions unto any or all of them, under
various pretences, and for divers ends, even secular advantages some
of them, which the craft of Satan has prepared for the ensnaring of
them) in all ways of opposition unto his glory; so it is the highest
duty of them unto whom he is precious, whose principal design is to be
found built on him as the sure foundation, as to hold the truth
concerning him, this person, spirit, grace, office, and authority,)
and to abound in all duties of faith, love, trust, honour, and delight
in him--so also to declare his excellency, to plead the cause of his
glory, to vindicate his honour, and to witness him the only rest and
reward of the souls of men, as they are called and have opportunity.

This, and no other, is the design of the ensuing treatise; wherein,
as all things fall unspeakably short of the glory, excellency, and
sublimity of the subject treated of, (for no mind can conceive, no
tongue can express, the real substantial glory of them,) so there is
no doubt but that in all the parts of it there is a reflection of
failings and imperfections, from the weakness of its author. But yet I
must say with confidence, that in the whole, that eternal truth of God
concerning the mystery of his wisdom, love, grace, and power, in the
person and mediation of Christ, with our duties towards himself
therein, even the Father, Son, and eternal Spirit, is pleaded and
vindicated, which shall never be shaken by the utmost endeavours and
oppositions of the gates of hell.

And in the acknowledgment of the truth concerning these things
consists, in an especial manner, that faith which was the life and
glory of the primitive church, which they earnestly contended for,
wherein and whereby they were victorious against all the troops of
stumbling adversaries by whom it was assaulted. In giving testimony
hereunto, they loved not their lives unto the death, but poured out
their blood like water, under all the pagan persecutions, which had no
other design but to cast them down and separate them from this
impregnable rock, this precious foundation. In the defence of these
truths did they conflict, in prayers, studies, travels, and writings,
against the swarms of seduces by whom they were opposed. And, for this
cause, I thought to have confirmed the principal passages of the
ensuing discourse with some testimonies from the most ancient writes
of the first ages of the church; but I omitted that cause, as fearing
that the interposition of such passages might obstruct instead of
promoting the edification of the common sort of readers, which I
principally intended. Yet, withal, I thought not good utterly to
neglect that design, but to give at least a specimen of their
sentiments about the principal truths pleaded for, in this preface to
the whole. But herein, also, I met with a disappointment; for the
bookseller having, unexpectedly unto me, finished the printing of the
discourse itself, I must be contented to make use of what lieth
already collected under my hand, not having leisure or time to make
any farther inquiry.

I shall do something of this nature, the rather because I shall have
occasion thereby to give a summary account of some of the principal
parts of the discourse itself, and to clear some passages in it, which
by some may be apprehended obscure.

Chap. I. The foundation of the whole is laid in the indication of
those words of our blessed Saviour, wherein he declares himself to be
the rock whereon the church is built: (Matt.16:18:) "And I say also
unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The
pretended ambiguity of these words has been wrested by the secular
interests of men, to give occasion unto that prodigious controversy
among Christian, with, whether Jesus Christ or the Pope of Rome be the
rock whereon the church is built. Those holy men of old unto whom
Christ was precious, being untainted with the desires of secular
grandeur and power, knew nothing hereof. Testimonies may be--they have
been--multiplied by other unto this purpose. I shall mention some few
of them.

"Houtos estin he pros ton Patera agousa hosos, he petra, he kleis, he
poimen", &c, saith Ignatius: Epist. ad Philadelph.--"He" (that is,
Christ) "is the way leading unto the Father, the rock, the key, the
shepherd"--wherein he has respect unto this testimony. And Origin
expressly denies the words to be spoken of Peter, in Matt.16: (Tract.
1:) "Quod si super unum illum Petrum tantum existimees totam eclesiam
aedificar, quid dicturus es de Johanne, et apostolorum unoquoque? Num
audebimus dicere quod adversus Petrum unum non prevaliturae sunt
portae inferorum?"--"If you shall think that the whole church was
built on Peter alone, what shall we say of John, and each of the
apostles? What! shall we dare to say that the gates of hell shall not
prevail against Peter only?" So he [held,] according unto the common
opinion of the ancients, that there was nothing peculiar in the
confession of Peter, and the answer made thereunto as unto himself,
but that he spake and was spoken unto in the name of all the rest of
the apostles. Euseb. Preparat. Evang., lib. 1 cap. 3: "Ete onomasti
prothespistheisa ekklesia autou hesteke kata bathous erridzoomene, kai
mechris ouranioon hapsidoon euchais hosioon ka theofiloon anoroon
meteooridzomene--dia mian ekeinen, hen autos apefenato lexin, eipoon,
Epi ten petran oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian, kan pulai haidou ou
katischusousin autes". He proves the verity of divine predictions from
the glorious accomplishment of that word, and the promise of our
Saviour, that he would build his church on the rock, (that is,
himself,) so as that the gates of hell should not prevail against it.
For "Unum hoc est immobile fundamentum, una haec est felix fidei
Petra, Petri ore confessa, Tu es filius Dei vivi," says Hilary de
Trin., lib. 2--"This is the only immovable foundation, this is the
blessed rock of faith confessed by Peter, Thou art the Son of the
living God". And Epiphanius, Haer.29: "Epi tei petri tautei tes
asfalous pisteoos oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian".--"Upon this rock" of
assured faith "I will build my church". For many thought that faith
itself was metonymically called the Rock, because of its object, or
the person of Christ, which is so.

One or two more out of Augustine shall close these testimonies:
"Super hanc Petram, quam confessus es, super meipsum filium Dei vivi,
aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Super me aedificabo te, non me super te:"
De Verbis Dom., Serm. 13.--"Upon this rock which thou hast confessed--
upon myself, the God of the living God--I will build my church I will
build thee upon myself, and not myself on thee." And he more fully
declareth his mind: (Tract. 124, in Johan.:) "Universam significabat
ecclesiam, quae in hoc seculo diversis tentationibus, velut imbribus,
fluminibus, tempestatibusque quatitur, et non cadit; quoniam fundata
est supra Petram; unde et Petrus nomen accepit. Non enim a Petro
Petra, sed Petrus a Petra; sicut non Christus a Christiano, sed
Christianus a Christo vocatur. Ideo quippe ait Dominus, 'Super hanc
Petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam', quia dixerat Petrus, 'Tu es
Christus filius Dei vivi'. 'Super hanc ergo' (inquit) 'Petram quam
confessus es, aedificabo eccleaism meam'. Petra enim erat Christus,
super quod fundamentum etiam ipse aedificatus est Petrus. Fundamentum
quippe aliud nemo potest ponere, praeter id quod positum est, quod est
Jesus Christus".--"He (Christ) meant the universal church, which in
this world is shaken with divers temptations, as with showers, floods,
and tempests, yet falleth not, because it is built on the rock (Petra)
from whence Peter took his name. For the rock is not called Petra from
Peter, but Peter is so called from Petra the rock; as Christ is not so
called from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore, said the
Lord, 'Upon this rock will I build my church;' because Peter said,
'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Upon this rock,
which thou hast confessed, will I build my church. For Christ himself
was the rock on which foundation Peter himself was built. For other
foundation can no man lay, save that which is laid which is Jesus

Chap. II. Against this rock, this foundation of the church--the
person of Christ, and the faith of the church concerning it--great
opposition has been made by the gates of hell. Not to mention the rage
of the pagan world, endeavouring by all effects of violence and
cruelty to cast the church from this foundation; all the heresies
wherewith from the beginning, and for some centuries of years ensuing,
it was pestered, consisted in direct and immediate oppositions unto
the eternal truth concerning the person of Christ. Some that are so
esteemed, indeed, never pretended unto any sobriety, but were mere
effects of delirant [raving] imaginations; yet did even they also, one
way or other, derive from an hatred unto the person of Christ, and
centred therein. Their beginning was early in the church, even before
the writing of the gospel by John, or of his Revelation, and indeed
before some of Paul's epistles. And although their beginning was but
small, and seemingly contemptible, yet, being full of the poison of
the old serpent, they diffused themselves in various shapes and forms,
until there was nothing left of Christ--nothing that related unto him,
not his natures, divine or human, not their properties nor acting, not
his person, nor the union of his natures therein--that was not opposed
and assaulted by them. Especially so soon as the gospel had subdued
the Roman empire unto Christ, and was owned by the rulers of it, the
whole world was for some ages filled with uproars, confusion, and
scandalous disorders about the person of Christ, through the cursed
oppositions made thereunto by the gates of hell. Neither had the
church any rest from these convicts for about five hundred year. But
near that period of time, the power of truth and religion beginning
universally to decay among the outward professors of them, Satan took
advantage to make that havoc and destruction of the church--by
superstition, false worship, and profaneness of life which he failed
of in his attempt against the person of Christ, or the doctrine of
truth concerning it.

It would be a tedious work, and, it may be, not of much profit unto
them who are utterly unacquainted with things so long past and gone,
wherein they seem to have no concernment, to give a specimen of the
several heresies whereby attempts were made against this rock and
foundation of the church. Unto those who have inquired into the
records of antiquity, it would be altogether useless. For almost every
page of them, at first view, presents the reader with an account of
some one or more of them. Yet do I esteem it useful, that the very
ordinary sort of Christians should, at least in general, be acquainted
with what has passed in this great contest about the person of Christ,
from the beginning. For there are two things relating thereunto
wherein their faith is greatly concerned. First, There is evidence
given therein unto the truth of those predictions of the Scripture,
wherein this fatal apostasy from the truth, and opposition unto the
Lord Christ, are foretold: and, secondly, An eminent instance of his
power and faithfulness, in the appointment and conquest of the gates
of hell in the management of this opposition. But they have been all
reckoned up, and digested into methods of time and matter, by many
learned men, (of old and of late,) so that I shall not in this
occasional discourse represent them unto the reader again. Only I
shall give a brief account of the ways and means whereby they who
retained the profession of the truth contended for it, unto a conquest
over the pernicious heresies wherewith it was opposed.

The defense of the truth, from the beginning, was left in charge
unto, and managed by, the guides and rulers of the church in their
several capacities. And by the Scripture it was that they discharged
their duty confirmed with apostolical tradition consonant thereunto.
This was left in charge unto them by the great apostle, (Acts
20:28-31; 1 Tim.6:13,14; 2 Tim.2:1,2,15,23,24; 4:1-5,) and wherein any
of them failed in this duty, they were reproved by Christ himself:
Rev.2:14,15,20. Nor were private believers (in their places and
capacities) either unable for this duty or exempt from it, but
discharged themselves faithfully therein, according unto commandment
given unto them: 1 John 2:20,27; 4:1-3; 2 John 8,9. All true
believers, in their several stations--by mutual watchfulness,
preaching, or writing, according unto their calls and abilities--
effectually used the outward means for the preservation and
propagation of the faith of the church. And the same means are still
sufficient unto the same ends, were they attended unto with conscience
and diligence. The pretended defense of truth with arts and arms of
another kind has been the bane of religion, and lost the peace of
Christians beyond recovery. And it may be observed, that whilst this
way alone for the preservation of the truth was insisted on and
pursued, although innumerable heresies arose one after another, and
sometimes many together, yet they never made any great progress, nor
arrived unto any such consistency as to make a stated opposition unto
the truth; but the errors themselves and their authors, were as
vagrant meteors, which appeared for a little while, and vanished away.
Afterwards it was not so, when other ways and means for the
suppression of heresies were judged convenient and needful.

For in process of time, when the power of the Roman empire gave
countenance and protection unto the Christian religion, another way
was fixed on for this end, viz., the use of such assemblies of bishops
and others as they called General Councils, armed with a mixed power,
partly civil and partly ecclesiastical--with respect unto the
authority of the emperors and that jurisdiction in the church which
began then to be first talked of. This way was begun in the Council of
Nice, wherein, although there was a determination of the doctrine
concerning the person of Christ--then in agitation, and opposed, as
unto his divine nature therein--according unto the truth, yet sundry
evils and inconveniences ensued thereon. For thenceforth the faith of
Christians began greatly to be resolved into the authority of men, and
as much, if not more weight to be laid on what was decreed by the
fathers there assembled, than on what was clearly taught in the
Scriptures. Besides, being necessitated, as they thought, to explain
their conceptions of the divine nature of Christ in words either not
used in the Scripture, or whose signification unto that purpose was
not determined therein, occasion was given unto endless contentions
about them. The Grecians themselves could not for a long season agree
among themselves whether "ousia" and "hupostatis" were of the same
signification or no, (both of them denoting essence and substance,) or
whether they differed in their signification, or if they did, wherein
that difference lay. Athanasiu6 at first affirmed them to be the same:
Orat. 5 con. Arian., and Epist. ad African. Basil denied them so to
be, or that they were used unto the same purpose in the Council of
Nice: Epist. 78. The like difference immediately fell out between the
Grecians and Latins about "hypostasis" and "persona". For the Latins
rendered "hypostasis" by "substantia," and "prosoopon" by "persona."
Hereof Jerome complains, in his Epistle to Damasus, that they required
of him in the East to confess "tres hypostases," and he would only
acknowledge "tree personas:" Epist. 71. And Augustine gives an account
of the same difference: De Trinitate, lib 5 cap. 8, 9. Athanasius
endeavoured the composing of this difference, and in a good measure
effected it, as Gregory Nazianzen affirms in his oration concerning
his praise. It was done by him in a synod at Alexandria, in the first
year of Julian'6 reign. On this occasion many contests arose even
among them who all pleaded their adherence unto the doctrine of the
Council of Nice. And as the subtle Asians made incredible advantage
hereof at first, pretending that they opposed not the deity of Christ,
but only the expression of it by of "homo-ousios", so afterwards they
countenanced themselves in coining words and terms, to express their
minds with, which utterly reacted it. Hence were their "homoousios,
heterousios, ex ouk ontoon", and the like names of blasphemy, about
which the contests were fierce and endless. And there were yet farther
evils that ensued hereon. For the curious and serpentine wits of men,
finding themselves by this means set at liberty to think and discourse
of those mysteries of the blessed Trinity, and the person of Christ,
without much regard unto plain divine testimonies, (in such ways
wherein cunning and sophistry did much bear sway,) began to multiply
such near, curious, and false notions about them, especially about the
latter, as caused new disturbances, and those of large extent and long
continuance. For their suppression, councils were called on the neck
of one another, whereon commonly new occasions of differences did
arise, and most of them managed with great scandal unto the Christian
religion. For men began much to forego the primitive ways of opposing
errors and extinguishing heresies; retaking themselves unto their
interest, the number of their party, and their prevalence with the
present emperors. And although it so fell out--as in that at
Constantinople, the first at Ephesus, and that at Chalcedon--that the
truth (for the substance of it) did prevail, (for in many others it
happened quite otherwise,) yet did they always give occasions unto new
divisions, animosities, and even mutual hatreds, among the principal
leaders of the Christian people. And great contests there were among
some of those who pretended to believe the same truth, whether such or
such a council should be received--that is, plainly, whether the
church should resolve its faith into their authority. The strifes of
this nature about the first Ephesian Council, and that at Chalcedon,
not to mention those wherein the Asians prevailed, take up a good part
of the ecclesiastical story of those days. And it cannot be denied,
but that some of the principal persons and assemblies who adhered unto
the truth did, in the heat of opposition unto the heresies of other
men, fall into unjustifiable excess themselves.

We may take an instance hereof with respect unto the Nestorian
heresy, condemned in the first Ephesian Council, and afterwards in
that at Chalcedon. Cyril of Alexandria, a man learned and vehement,
designed by all means to be unto it what his predecessor Athanasius
had been to the Arian; but he fell into such excesses in his
undertakings, as gave great occasion unto farther tumults. For it is
evident that he distinguisheth not between "hupostatis" and "fusis",
and therefore affirms, that the divine Word and humanity had "mian
fusin", one nature only. So he does plainly in Epist. ad Successum:
"They are ignorant," saith he, "hoti kath' aletheian esti mia fusis
tou logou sesarkoomene". Hence Eutyches the Archimandrite took
occasion to run into a contrary extreme, being a no less fierce enemy
to Nestorius than Cyril was. For to oppose him who divided the person
of Christ into two, he confounded his natures into one--his delirant
folly being confirmed by that goodly assembly, the second at Ephesus.
Besides, it is confessed that Cyril--through the vehemency of his
spirit, hatred unto Nestorius, and following the conduct of his own
mind in nice and subtle expressions of the great mystery of the person
of Christ--did utter many things exceeding the bounds of sobriety
prescribed unto us by the apostle, (Rom.12:3,) if not those of truth
itself. Hence it is come to passe that many learned men begin to think
and write that Cyril was in the wrong, and Nestorius by his means
condemned undeservedly. However, it is certain to me, that the
doctrine condemned at Ephesus and Chalcedony as the doctrine of
Nestorius, was destructive of the true person of Christ; and that
Cyril, though he missed it in sundry expressions, yet aimed at the
declaration and confirmation of the truth; as he was long since
vindicated by Theorianus: Dialog. con. Armenios.

However, such was the watchful care of Christ over the church, as
unto the preservation of this sacred, fundamental truth, concerning
his divine person, and the union of his natures therein, retaining
their distinct properties and operations, that--notwithstanding all
the faction and disorder that were in those primitive councils, and
the scandalous contests of many of the members of them;
notwithstanding the determination contrary unto it in great and
numerous councils--the faith of it was preserved entire in the hearts
of all that truly believed, and triumphed over the gates of hell.

I have mentioned these few things, which belong unto the promise and
prediction of our blessed Saviour in Matt.16:18, (the place insisted
on,) to show that the church, without any disadvantage to the truth,
may be preserved without such general assemblies, which, in the
following ages, proved the most pernicious engines for the corruption
of the faith, worship, and manners of it. Yea, from the beginning,
they were so far from being the only way of preserving truth, that it
was almost constantly prejudiced by the addition of their authority
unto the confirmation of it. Nor was there any one of them wherein
"the mystery of iniquity" did not work, unto the laying of some
rubbish in the foundation of that fatal apostasy which afterwards
openly ensued. The Lord Christ himself has taken it upon him to build
his church on this rock of his person, by true faith of it and in it.
He sends his Holy Spirit to bear testimony unto him, in all the
blessed effects of his power and grace. He continueth his Word, with
the faithful ministry of it, to reveal, declare, make known, and
vindicate his sacred truth, unto the conviction of gainsayers. He
keeps up that faith in him, that love unto him, in the hearts of all
his elect, as shall not be prevailed against. Wherefore, although the
oppositions unto this sacred truth, this fundamental article of the
church and the Christian religion--concerning his divine person, its
constitution, and use, as the human nature conjoined substantially
unto it, and subsisting in it--are in this Last age increased;
although they are managed under so great a variety of forms, as that
they are not reducible unto any heads of order; although they are
promoted with more subtlety and specious pretences than in former
ages; yet, if we are not wanting unto our duty, with the aids of grace
proposed unto us, we shall finally triumph in this cause, and transmit
this sacred truth inviolate unto them that succeed us in the
profession of it.

Chap. III. This person of Christ, which is the foundation whereon the
church is built, whereunto all sorts of oppositions are endeavoured
and designed, is the most ineffable effect of divine goodness and
wisdom--whereof we treat in the next place. But herein, when I speak
of the constitution of the person of Christ, I intend not his person
absolutely, as he is the eternal Son of God. He was truly, really,
completely, a divine person from eternity, which is included in the
notion of his being the Son, and so distinct from the Father, which is
his complete personality. His being so was not a voluntary contrivance
or effect of divine wisdom and goodness, his eternal generation being
a necessary internal act of the divine nature in the person of the

Of the eternal generation of the divine person of the Son, the sober
writers of the ancient church did constantly affirm that it was firmly
to be believed, but as unto the manner of it not to be inquired into.
"Scrutator majestatis absorbetur a gloria", was their rule; and the
curious disputes of Alexander and Arius about it, gave occasion unto
that many-headed monster of the Arian heresy which afterwards ensued.
For when once men of subtile heads and unsanctified hearts gave
themselves up to inquire into things infinitely above their
understanding and capacity--being vainly puffed up in their fleshly
minds--they fell into endless divisions among themselves, agreeing
only in an opposition unto the truth. But those who contented
themselves to be wise unto sobriety, repressed this impious boldness.
To this purpose speaks Lactantius:(lib.4, De Vera Sapient.:) "Quomodo
igitur procreavit? Nec sciri a quoquam possunt, nec narrari, opera
divina; sed tamen sacrae literae docent illum Dei filium, Dei esse
sermonem".----"How, therefore, did the Father beget the Son? These
divine works can be known of none, declared by none; but the holy
writings" (wherein it is determined) "teach that he is the Son of God,
that he is the Word of God." And Ambrose: (De Fide, ad Gratianum:)
"Quaero abs te, quando aut quomodo putes filium esse generatum? Mihi
enim impossibile est scire generationis secretum Mens deficit, vox
silet, non mea tantum, sed et angelorum. Supra potestates, supra
angelos, supra cherubim, supra seraphim, supra omnem sensum est. Tu
quoque manum ori admovere; scrutari non licet superna mysteria. Licet
scire quod ntus sit, non licet discutere quomodu ntus sit; illud
negare mihi non licet, hoc quaerere metus est. Nam si Paulus ea quae
audivit, raptus in tertium coelu, ineffabilia dicit, quomodo nos
exprimere possumus paternae generationis arcanum, quod nec sentire
potuimus nec audire? Quid te ista questionum tormenta delectant?"--"I
inquire of you when and how the Son was begotten? Impossible it is to
me to know the mystery of this generation. My mind faileth, my voice
is silent--and not only mine, but of the angels; it is above
principalities, above angels, above the cherubim, above the seraphim,
above all understanding. Lay thy hand on thy mouth; it is not lawful
to search into these heavenly mysteries. It is lawful to know that he
was born--it is not lawful to discuss how he was born; that it is not
lawful for me to deny--this I am afraid to inquire into. For if Paul,
when he was taken into the third heaven, affirms that the things which
he heard could not be uttered; how can we express the mystery of the
divine generation, which we can neither apprehend nor hear? Why do
such tormenting questions delight thee?"

Ephraim Syrus wrote a book to this purpose, against those who would
search out the nature of the Son of God. Among many other things to
the same purpose are his words: (cap. 2:) "Infelix profecto, miser,
atque impudentissimus est, qui scrutari cupot Opificem suum. Millia
millium, et centies millies millena millia angelorum et archangelorum,
cum horrore glorificant, et trementes adorant; et homines lutei, pleni
peccatis, de divinitate intrepide disserunt Non illorum exhorrescit
corpus, non contremescit animus; sed securi et garruli, de Christo Dei
filio, qui pro me indigno peccatore passus est, deque ipsius utraque
generatione loquuntur; nec saltem quod in luce caecutiunt, sentiunt".-

  • "He is unhappy, miserable, and most impudent, who desires to examine or search out his Maker. Thousands of thousands, and hundreds of
    thousands of millions of angels and archangels, do glorify him with
    dread, and adore him with trembling; and shall men of clay, full of
    sins, dispute of the Deity without fear? Horror does not shake their
    bodies, their minds do not tremble, but being secure and pealing, they
    speak of the Son of God, who suffered for me, unworthy sinner, and of
    both his nativities or generations; at least they're not sensible how
    blind they are in the light." To the same purpose. speaks Eusebius at
    large: Demonstratio Evang., lib. 5 cap. 2.

    Leo well adds hereunto the consideration of his incarnation, in these
    excellent words: (Serm. 9, De Nativit.:) "Quia in Christo Jesus Filio
    Dei non solum ad divinam essentiam, sed etiam ad humanan spectat
    naturam, quo dictum est per prophetam--'generationem ejus quis
    enarrabit?'--(utramque enim substantiam in unam convenisse personam,
    nisi fides credat, sermo non explicat; et ideo materia nunquam deficit
    laudis; qui nunquam sufficit copia laudatoris)--gaudeamus igitur quod
    ad eloquendum tantum, misericordiae sacramentum impares sumus; et cum
    salutis nostrae altitudinem promere non valeamus, sentiamus nobis
    bonum esse quod vincimur. Nemo enim ad cognitionem veritatis magis
    propinquat, quam qui intelligit, in rebus divinis, etiamsi multum
    proficiat, semper sibi superesse quod quaerat". See also Fulg., lib. 2
    ad Thrasimund.

    But I speak of the person of Christ as unto the assumption of the
    substantial adjunct of the human nature, not to be a part whereof his
    person is composed, but as unto its subsistence therein by virtue of a
    substantial union. Some of the ancients, I confess, speak freely of
    the composition of the person of Christ in and by the two natures, the
    divine and human. That the Son of God after his incarnation had one
    nature, composed of the Deity and humanity, was the heresy of
    Apollinarius, Eutyches, the Monothelites, or Monophyeites, condemned
    by all. But that his most simple divine nature, and the human,
    composed properly of soul and body, did compose his one person, or
    that it was composed of them, they constantly affirmed. "Ton Theou
    mesiten kai enthroopoon, kata tas grafas sunkeisthai famen ek te tes
    kath' hemas anthroopotetos teleioos echousas kata ton idion logon, kai
    ek tou pefenotos, ek Theou kata fusin huiou", saith Cyril of
    Alexandria--"A sanctis patribus adunatione ex divinitate et humanitate
    Christus Dominus noster compositus praedicatur:" Pet. Diacon., Lib. De
    Incarnat. et Grat. Christi, ad Fulgentium. And the union which they
    intended by this composition they called "enoosin fusiken", because it
    was of diverse natures, and "enoosin kata sunthesin", a union by

    But because there neither was nor can be any composition, properly so
    called, of the divine and human natures, and because the Son of God
    was a perfect person before his incarnation, wherein he remained what
    he was, and was made what he was not, the expression has been forsaken
    and avoided; the union being better expressed by the assumption of a
    substantial adjunct, or the human nature into personal subsistence
    with the Son of God, as shall be afterwards explained. This they
    constantly admire as the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and
    grace: "Ho asarkos tarkoutai, ho logos pachunetai, ho aoratos horatai,
    ho anafes pselafatai, ho achronos archetai, ho huios Theou huios
    anthroopou ginetai", saith Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. 12,) in
    admiration of this mystery. Hereby God communicates all things unto us
    from his own glorious fulness, the near approaches whereof we are not
    able to bear. So is it illustrated by Eusebius: (Demonst. Evang.,
    lib.4 cap.5, &c.:) "Houtoo de footos heliou mia kai he aute prostole
    homou kai kata to auto kataugadzei men aera, footidzei de ofthalmous,
    hafen de termainei, piainei de gen, auxei de futa, k. t. l. (cap.6) Ei
    goun hoos en hupothesei logou, katheis ouranothen autos heauton
    pamfaes helios sun anthroopois epi ges politeuoito, oudena toon epi
    tes ges meinai an adiaforon, pantoon sulletden empsuchoon homou kai
    apsuchoon athroai tei tou footos prostolei dieaftharesomenoon". The
    sense of which words, with some that follow in the same place, is unto
    this purpose: By the beams of the sunlight, and life, and heat, unto
    the procreation, sustentation, refreshment, and cherishing of all
    things, are communicated. But if the sun itself should come down unto
    the earth, nothing could bear its heat and lustre; our eyes would not
    be enlightened but darkened by its glory, and all things be swallowed
    up and consumed by its greatness; whereas, through the beams of it,
    every thing is enlightened and kindly refreshed. So is it with this
    eternal beam or brightness of the Father's glory. We cannot bear the
    immediate approach of the Divine Being; but through him, as incarnate,
    are all things communicated unto us, in a way suited unto our
    reception and comprehension.

    So it is admired by Leo: (Serm. 3, De Nativit.:) "Natura humana in
    Creatoris societatem assumpta est, non ut ille habitator, et illa
    esset habitaculum; sed ut naturae alteri sic misceretur altera, ut
    quamvis alia sit quae suscipitur, alia vero quae suscepit, in tantam
    tamen unitatem conveniret utriusque diversitas, ut unus idemque sit
    filius, qui se, et secundum quod verus est homo, Patre dicit minorem,
    et secundum quod verus est Deus Patrise profitetur aequalem"-- "Human
    nature is assumed into the society of the Creator, not that he should
    be the inhabitant, and that the habitation," (that is, by an
    inhabitation in the effects of his power and grace, for otherwise the
    fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily,) "but that one nature
    should be so mingled" (that is, conjoined) "with the other, that
    although that be of one kind which assumeth, and that of another which
    is assumed, yet the diversity of them both should concur in such a
    unity or union, as that it is one and the same Son who, as he was a
    true man, said that he was less than the Father, or the Father was
    greater than he--so as he was true God, professeth himself equal unto
    the Father." See also Augustinus De Fide, ad Pet. Diacon., cap. 17;
    Justitianus Imperator Epist. ad Hormisdam, Romae Episcop.

    And the mystery is well expressed by Maxentius: (Biblioth. Patr. pars
    prima:) "Non confundimus naturarum diversitatem; veruntamen Christum
    non tu asseris Deum factum, sed Deum factum Christum confitemur. Quia
    non cum pauper esset, dives factus est, sed cum dives esset, pauper
    factus est, ut nos divites faceret; neque enim cum esset in forma
    servi, formam Dei accepit; sed cum esset in forma Dei, formam servi
    accepit; similiter etiam nec, cum esset caro, verbum est factum; sed
    cum esset verbum, caro factum est".--"We do not confound the diversity
    of the natures, howbeit we believe not what you affirm, that Christ
    was made God; but we believe that God was made Christ. For he was not
    made rich when he was poor; but being rich, he was made poor, that he
    might make us rich. He did not take the form of God when he was in the
    form of a servant; but being in the form of God, he took on him the
    form of a servant. In like meaner, he was not made the Word when he
    was flesh; but being the Word, he was made flesh."

    And Jerome, speaking of the effects of this mystery: (Comment. in
    Ezekiel, cap. 46:) "Ne miretur lector si idem et Princeps est et
    Sacerdos, et Vitulus, et Aries, et Agnus; cum in Scripturis sanctis
    pro varietate causarum legamus eum Dominum, et Deum, et Hominem, et
    Prophetam, et Virgam, et Radicem, et Florem, et Principem, et Regem
    justum, et Justitiam, Apostolu, et Episcopu, Brachium, Servum,
    Angelum, Pastorem, Filium, et Unigenitum, et Promogenitum, Ostium,
    Viam, Sagittam, Sapientiam, et multa alia."--"Let not the reader
    wonder if he find one and the same to be the Prince and Priest, the
    Bullock, Ram, and Lamb; for in the Scripture, on variety of causes, we
    find him called Lord, God, and Man, the Prophet, a Rod, and the Root,
    the Flower, Prince, Judge, and Righteous King; Righteousness, the
    Apostle and Bishop, the Arm and Servant of God, the Angel, the
    Shepherd, the Son, the Only-begotten, the First-begotten, the Door,
    the Way, the Arrow, Wisdom, and sundry other things." And Ennodius
    has, as it were, turned this passage of Jerome into verse:--

    "Corda domat, qui cuncta videt, quem cuncta tramiscunt;
    Fons, via, dextra, lapis, vitulus, leo, lucifer, agnus;
    Janua, spes, virtus, verbum, sapientia, vates.
    Ostia, virgultum, pastor, mons, rete, columba,
    Flama, gigas, aquila, sponsus, patientia, nervus,
    Filius, excelsus, Dominus, Deus; omnia Christus."
    (In natalem Papoe Epiphanii.)

    "Quod homo est esse Christus voluit; ut et homo possit esse quod
    Christus est", saith Cyprian: De Idolorum Vanitate, cap. 3. And, "Quod
    est Christus erimus Christiani, si Christum fuerimus imitati:" Ibid.
    And he explains his mind in this expression by way of admiration:
    (Lib. de Eleemosyn.:) "Christus hominis filius fieri voluit, ut nos
    Dei filios faceret; humiliavit se, ut popolum qui prius jacebat,
    erigeret; vulneratus est, ut vulnera nostra curaret".

    Chap. IV. That he was the foundation of all the holy counsels of God,
    with respect unto the vocation, sanctification, justification, and
    eternal salvation of the church, is, in the next place, at large
    declared. And he was so on a threefold account. 1. Of the ineffable
    mutual delight of the Father and the Son in those counsels from an
    eternity. 2. As the only way and means of the accomplishment of all
    those counsels, and the communication of their effects, unto the
    eternal glory of God. 3. As he was in his own person, as incarnate,
    the idea and exemplar in the mind of God of all that grace and glory
    in the church which was designed unto it in those eternal counsels. As
    the cause of all good unto us, he is on this account acknowledged by
    the ancients. "Houtos goun ho logos ho Christos kai tou einai palai
    hemas, en gar en Theooi, kai tou eu einai aitios. Nun de etefane
    anthroopois, autos houtos ho logos, ho monos amfoo Theos te kai
    anthroopos, hapantoon hemin aitios agatoon", saith Clemens, Adhort. ad
    Gentes--"He, therefore, is the Word, the Christ, and the cause of old
    of our being; for he was in God, and the cause of our well-being. But
    now he has appeared unto men, the same eternal Word, who alone is both
    God and man, and unto us the cause of all that is good". As he was in
    God the cause of our being and well-being from eternity, he was the
    foundation of the divine counsels in the way explained; and in his
    incarnation, the execution of them all was committed unto him, that
    through him all actual good, all the fruits of those counsels, might
    be communicated unto us.

    Chap. V. He is also declared in the next place, as he is the image
    and great representative of God, even the Father, unto the church. On
    what various accounts he is so called, is fully declared in the
    discourse itself. In his divine person, as he was the only begotten of
    the Father from eternity, he is the essential image of the Father, by
    the generation of his person, and the communication of the divine
    nature unto him therein. As he is incarnate, he is both in his own
    entire person God and man, and in the administration of his office,
    the image or representative of the nature and will of God unto us, as
    is fully proved. So speaks Clem. Alexandrin., Adhort. ad Gentes: "He
    men gar tou Theou eikoon ho logos autou, kai huios tou nou gnesios, ho
    Teios logos footos erchetupon foos, eikoon de tou logou ho
    enthroopos".--"The image of God is his own Word, the natural Son of
    the" (eternal) "Mind, the divine Word, the original Light of Light;
    and the image of the Word is man." And the same author again, in his
    Paedagogus: "Prosoopon tou Theou ho logos hooi footidzetai ho Theos
    kai gnooridzetai"--"The Word is the face, the countenance, the
    representation of God, in whom he is brought to light and made known."
    As he is in his divine person his eternal, essential image; so, in his
    incarnation, as the teacher of men, he is the representative image of
    God unto the church, as is afterwards declared.

    So also Jerome expresseth his mind herein: (Comment. in Psal.66:)
    "Illuminet vultum suum super nos; Dei facies quae est? Utique imago
    ejus. Dicit enim apostolus imaginem Patris esse filium; ergo imagine
    sua nos illuminet; hoc est, imaginem suam filium illuminet super nos;
    ut ipse nos illuminet; lux enim Patris lux filii est."--"Let him cause
    his face to shine upon us; or lift up the light of his countenance
    upon us. What is the face of God? Even his image. For the apostle
    says, that the Son is the image of the Father. Wherefore, let him
    shine on us with his image; that is, cause his Son, which is his
    image, to shine upon us, that he may illuminate us; for the light of
    the Father and of the Son are the same." Christ being the image of
    God, the face of God, in him is God represented unto us, and through
    him are all saving benefits communicated unto them that believe.

    Eusebius also speaks often unto this purpose, as: (Demonstratio
    Evangelica, lib. 4 cap. 2:) "Hothen eikotoos hoi cresmoi teologountes,
    Theon geneton auton apofainousin, hoos an tes anekfrastou kai
    aperinoetou theotetos monon en autooi feronta ten eikona di' hen kai
    Theon einak te auton kai legesthai tes pros to prooton exomoiooseoos
    charin".--"Wherefore, the holy oracles, speaking theologically, or
    teaching divine things, do rightly call him God begotten," (of the
    Father,) "as he who alone bears in himself the image of the ineffable
    and inconceivable Deity. Wherefore, he both is, and is called God,
    because of his being the character, similitude, or image of him who is
    the first." The divine personality of Christ consists in this, that
    the whole divine nature being communicated unto him by eternal
    generation, he is the image of God, even the Father, who by him is
    represented unto us. See the same book, chap. 7, to the same purpose;
    also, De Ecclesiast. Theol. contra Marcell., lib. 2 cap. 17.

    Clemens abounds much in the affirmation of this truth concerning the
    person of Christ, and we may yet add, from a multitude to the same
    purpose, one or more testimonies from him. Treating of Christ as the
    teacher of all men, his "paidagoogos", he affirms that he is "Theos en
    anthroopou schemati", "God in the figure or form of man;" "achrantos,
    patrikooi telemati diakonos, logos, Theos, ho en patri ho ek dexioon
    tou patros, sun kai tooi schemati Theou", "impolluted, serving the
    will of the Fsther, the Word, God, who is in the Father, on the right
    hand of the Father, and in or with the form of God". "Houtos hemin
    eikoon he akelidootos, toutooi panti sthenei peirateon exomoioun ten
    psuchen".--"He is the image (of God) unto us, wherein there is no
    blemish; and with all our strength are we to endeavour to render
    ourselves like unto him". This is the great end of his being the
    representative image of God unto us And: (Stromat., lib. 4:) "Ho men
    oun Theos anapodeiktos oon, ouk estin epistemonikos. Ho de huios sofia
    te esti kai episteme, kai aletheia, kai, hosa alla toutooi sungene".--
    "As God" (absolutely) "falls not under demonstration," (that is,
    cannot perfectly be declared,) "so he does not" (immediately) "effect
    or teach us knowledge. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and
    truth, unto us, and every thing which is cognate hereunto." For in and
    by him does God teach us, and represent himself unto us.

    Chap. VII. Upon the glory of this divine person of Christ depends the
    efficacy of all his offices; an especial demonstration whereof is
    given in his prophetical office. So it is well expressed by Irenaeus,
    "qui nil molitur inepte:" lib. 1 cap. 1. "Non enim aliter nos discere
    poteramus quae sunt Dei, nisi magister noster verbum existens, homo
    ffactus fuisset. Neque enim alius poterat enarrare nobis quae sunt
    Patris, nisi proprium ipsius verbum. Quis enim alius cognovit sensum
    Domini? Aut quis alius ejus consiliarium factus est? Neque rursus nos
    aliter discere poteramus, nisi Magistrum nostrum videntes, et per
    auditum nostrum vocem ejus percipientes, uti imitatores quidem operum,
    factores autem sermonum ejus facti, communionem habeamus cum ipso".--
    "We could not otherwise have learned the things of God, unless our
    Master, being and continuing the" (eternal) "Word, had been made man.
    For no other could declare unto us the things of God, but his own
    proper Word. For who else has known the mind of the Lord? Or who else
    has been his counsellor? Neither, on the other side, could we
    otherwise have learned, unless we had seen our Master, and heard his
    voice," (in his incarnation and ministry,) "whereby, following his
    works, and yielding obedience unto his doctrine, we may have communion
    with himself."

    I do perceive that if I should proceed with the same kind of
    attestations unto the doctrine of all the chapters in the ensuing
    discourse, this preface would be drawn forth unto a greater length
    than was ever designed unto it, or is convenient for it. I shall
    therefore choose out one or two instances more, to give a specimen of
    the concurrence of the ancient church in the doctrine declared in
    them, and so put a close unto it.

    Chap. IX. In the ninth chapter and those following, we treat of the
    divine honour that is due unto the person of Christ, expressed in
    adoration, invocation, and obedience, proceeding from faith and love.
    And the foundation of the whole is laid in the discovery of the true
    nature and causes of that honour; and three things are designed unto
    confirmation herein. 1. That the divine nature, which is individually
    the same in each person of the holy Trinity, is the proper formal
    object of all divine worship, in adoration and invocation; wherefore,
    no one person is or can be worshipped, but in the same individual act
    of worship each person is equally worshipped and adored. 2. That it is
    lawful to direct divine honour, worship, and invocation unto any
    person, in the use of his peculiar name--the Father, Son, or Spirit --
    or unto them altogether; but to make any request unto one person, and
    immediately the same unto another, is not exemplified in the
    Scripture, nor among the ancient writers of the church. 3. That the
    person of Christ, as God-man, is the proper object of all divine
    honour and worship, on the account of his divine nature; and all that
    he did in his human nature are motives thereunto.

    The first of these is the constant doctrine of the whole ancient
    church, viz, that whether, (for instance,) in our solemn prayers and
    invocations, we call expressly on the name of the Father, or of the
    Son, or of the Holy Spirit; whether we do it absolutely or relatively,
    that is, with respect unto the relation of one person to the others as
    calling on God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Christ as
    the Son of his love, on the Holy Spirit as proceeding from them both--
    we do formally invocate and call on the divine nature, and
    consequently the whole Trinity, and each person therein. This truth
    they principally confirmed with the form of our initiation into Christ
    at baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
    and of the Holy Ghost." For as there is contained therein the sum of
    all divine honour, so it is directed unto the same name, (not the
    names,) of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which is the same Deity or
    divine nature alone.

    So speak the Fathers of the second General Council in their letters
    unto the bishops of the west; as they are expressed in Theodoret, lib.
    5 cap. 9. This form of baptism teacheth us, say they, "Pisteuein eis
    to onoma tou patros, kai tou huiou, kai tou hagiou pneumatos, delade,
    teotetos te kai dunameoos kai ousias mias tou patros, kai tou huiou,
    kai tou hagiou pneumatos pisteuomenes, homotimou tes axias, kai
    sunaidiou tes basileias, en trisi teleiais hupostasesi".--"to believe
    in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
    seeing that the Deity, substance, and power of the Father, Son, and
    Holy Spirit, is one and the same; their dignity equal; their kingdom
    coeternal, in three perfect persons." "In nomine dixit, non nominibus,
    erog non aliud nomen Patris est,"&c., "quia unus Deus:" Ambrose, De
    Spirit. Sanct., lib. 1 cap. 14. "Onoma de koinon toon trioon en, he
    teotes".--"The one name common to the three is the Deity:" Gregor.
    Nazianzen, Orat. 40. Hence Augustine gives it as a rule, in speaking
    of the Holy Trinity: "Quando unus trium in aliquo opere nominatur,
    universa operari trinitas intelligitur:" Enchirid., cap. 38.--"When
    one person of the three is named in any work, the whole Trinity is to
    be understood to effect it." "There is one Lord, one faith, one
    baptism," according to the Scriptures. Wherefore, as there is one
    faith in Christ, and one baptism of truth, although we are baptized
    and believe in the Father, Son, and Spirit, "kata ton outon, oimai,
    tropon kai logon, mia proskunesis he patros, kai enanthroopesantos
    huiou, kai hagiou pneumatos;"--"so plainly, in my judgment, there is
    one and the same adoration, of the Father, the Son incarnate, and the
    Holy Spirit:" Cyril. Alex. De Recta Fide, cap. 32.

    And this they professed themselves to hold and believe, in that
    ancient doxology which was first invented to decry the Arian heresy:
    "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." The
    same glory, in every individual act of its assignation or ascription,
    is directed unto each person jointly and distinctly, on the account of
    the same divine nature in each of them. I need not produce any
    testimonies in the farther confirmation hereof; for, in all their
    writings against the Arians, they expressly and constantly contend
    that the holy Trinity (that is, the divine nature in three persons) is
    the individual object of all divine adoration, invocation, and all
    religious worship; and that by whatever personal name--as the Father,
    Son, or Spirit--we call on God, it is God absolutely who is adored,
    and each person participant of the same nature. See August. Lib. con.
    Serm. Arian. cap. 35, and Epist. 66 ad Maximum.

    For the second thing, or the invocation of God by any personal name,
    or by the conjunction of the distinct names of the Father, Son, and
    Holy Spirit together, nothing occurs more frequently among them. Yea,
    it is common to find in their writings, prayers begun unto one person,
    and ended in the name of another; yea, begun unto Christ, and closed
    in the name of His only-begotten Son; it being one and the same divine
    nature that is called on. Yea, the schoolmen do generally deny that
    the persons of the holy Trinity, under the consideration of the formal
    reason which is constitutive of their personality, are the formal
    object and term of divine worship; but in the worship of one, they are
    all worshipped as one God over all, blessed for ever. See Aquin. 22 q.
    81, a. 3, ad prim., and q. 84, a. 1, ad tertium; Alexand. Alens. p. 3,
    q. 30, m. 1, a. 3.

    But yet, although we may call on God in and by the name of any divine
    person, or enumerate at once each person, (oo trias hagia
    arithmoumene, trias en heni onomati arithmoumene", Epiphan. Ancorat.,
    8 22,) it does not follow that we may make a request in our prayers
    unto one person, and then immediately repeat it unto another; for it
    would thence follow, that the person unto whom we make that request in
    the second place, was not invocated, not called on, not equally adored
    with him who was so called on in the first place, although the divine
    nature is the object of all religious invocation, which is the same in
    each person. Wherefore, in our divine invocation, we may name and fix
    our thoughts distinctly on any person, according as our souls are
    affected with the distinct operations of each person in grace towards

    For what concerns, in the third place, the ascription of divine
    honour, in adoration and invocation, unto the person of Christ; it is
    that which they principally contended for, and argued from, in all
    their writings against the Arians.

    Evidences of infinite wisdom in the constitution of the person of
    Christ, and rational discoveries of the condecencies therein, unto the
    exaltation of all the other glorious properties of the divine nature,
    are also treated of. Herein we consider the incarnation of the Son of
    God, with respect unto the recovery and salvation of the church alone.
    Some have contended that he should have been incarnate, had man never
    fallen or sinned. Of these are Rupertus, lib. 3, De Gloria et Honore
    Filii Hominis; Albertus Magnus, in 3 distinct. 10, a 4; Petrus
    Galatinus, lib.3 cap.4; as are Scotus, halensis, and others, whom
    Osiander followed. The same is affirmed by Socinus concerning the
    birth of that man, which alone he fancied him to be, as I have
    elsewhere declared. But I have disproved this figment at large. Many
    of the ancients have laboured in this argument, of the necessity of
    the incarnation of the eternal Word, and the condecencies unto divine
    wisdom therein. See Irenaeus, lib 3, cap. 20, 21; Eusebius, Demonst.
    Evangel., lib 4 cap. 1-4, &c.; Cyril. Alexand., lib. 5 cap. 6, lib 1.
    De Fide ad Regin.; Chrysostom, Homil. 10 in Johan., et in cap.8, ad
    Rom. Serm. 18; Augustine, De Trinit., lib. 13 cap.13-20; Leo, Epist.
    13, 18, Sermo. De Nativit. 1, 4, 10; Basil., in Psal. 48; Albinus, lib
    1 in Johan. Cap.11; Damascen., lib. 3, De Fide, cap. 15, 19; Anselm.,
    quod Deus Homo, lib. duo. Guil. Parisiensis, lib. Cur Deus Homo. Some
    especial testimonies we may produce in confirmation of what we have
    discoursed, in the places directed unto. There is one of them, one of
    the most ancient, the most learned, and most holy of them, who has so
    fully delivered his thoughts concerning this mystery, as that I shall
    principally make use of his testimony herein.

    It belonged unto the wisdom and righteousness of God, that Satan
    should be conquered and subdued in and by the same nature which he had
    prevailed against, by his suggestion and temptation. To this purpose
    that holy writer speaks, (lib. 3 cap. 20,) which, because his words
    are cited by Theodore, (Dial. 2,) I shall transcribe them from thence,
    as free from the injuries of his barbarous translator: "Henoosen oun
    kathoos proefamen ton anthroopon tooi Theooi, ei gar me anthroopos
    henikesen ton antipalon tou anthroopou, ouk an dikaioos henikethe ho
    echthros, palin te, ei me ho Theos edooresato ten sooterian, ouk an
    betaioos echoimen auten, kai ei me sunenoothe ho anthroopos tooi
    Theooi ouk an edunethe metaschein tes aftharsias. Edei gar ton mesiten
    tou Theou te kai anthroopoon, die tes idias pros hekaterous
    oikeiotetos eis filian kai homonoian tous anfoterous sunagagein".
    Words plainly divine; an illustrious testimony of the faith of the
    ancient church, and expressive of the principal mystery of the gospel!
    "Wherefore, as we said before, he united man unto God. For if man had
    not overcome the adversary of men, the enemy had not been justly
    conquered; and, on the other hand, if God had not given and granted
    salvation, we could never have a firm, indefeasible possession of it;

    and if man had not been united unto God, he could not have been
    partaker of immortality. It behaved, therefore, the Mediator between
    God and man, by his own participation of the nature of each of them,
    to bring them both into friendship and agreement with each other." And
    to the same purpose, speaking of the wisdom of God in our redemption
    by Christ, with respect unto the conquest of the devil: (lib 5 cap.
    1:) "Potens in omnibus Dei Verbum, et non deficiens in sua justitia,
    juste etiam adversus ipsam conversus est apostasiam, ea quae sunt sua
    redimens, ab eo, non cum vi, quemadmomdum ille initio dominabatur
    nostri, ea quae non erant sua insatiabiliter rapiens ... Suo igitur
    sanguine redimente nos Domino, et dante animam suam pro anima nostra,
    et carnem suam pro carnibus nostris", &c. Again divinely: "The
    all-powerful Word of God, no way defective in righteousness, set
    himself against the apostasy justly also; redeeming from him (Satsn,
    the head of the apostasy) the things which were his own--not with
    force, as he bare rule over us, insatiably making rapine of what was
    not his own--but he, the Lord, redeeming us with his own blood, giving
    his soul for our soul, and his flesh for ours, wrought out our
    deliverance." These things are at large insisted on in the ending

    It belongs unto this great mystery, and is a fruit of divine wisdom,
    that our deliverance should be wrought in and by the me nature wherein
    and whereby we were ruined. The reasons hereof, and the glory of God
    therein, are at large discoursed in the ensuing treatise. To the same
    purpose speaks the same holy writer: (lib 5 cap. 14:) "Non in
    semetipso recapitulasset haec Dominus, nisi ipse caro et sanguis
    secundum principalem plasmationem factus fuisset; salvans in semetipso
    in fine illud quod perierat in principio in Adam. Si autem ob aliam
    quandam dispositionem Dominus incarnatus est, et ex altera substantia
    carnem attulit, non ergo in semetipso recapitulatus est hominem, adhuc
    etiam nec aro quidem dici potest ... Habuit ergo et ipse carnem et
    sanguinem, non alteram quindam, sed ipsam principalem Patris
    plasmationem in se recapitulans, exquirens id quod perierat". And to
    the same purpose: (lib. 5 cap. 1:) "Neque enim vere esset sanguinem et
    carnem habens, per quam nos redemit, nisi antiquam plasmationem Adae
    in seipsum recapitulasset". That which these passages give testimony
    unto, is what we have discoursed concerning the necessity of our
    redemption in and by the nature that sinned; and yet withal, that it
    should be free from all that contagion which invaded our nature by the
    fall. And these things are divinely expressed. "Our Lord," saith he,
    "had not gathered up these things in himself, had not he been made
    flesh and blood, according unto its original creation." The reader may
    observe, that none of the ancient writers do so frequently express the
    fall of Adam by our apostasy from God, and our recovery by a
    recapitulation in Christ, as Irenaeus--his recapitulation being
    nothing but the "anakefalaioosis" mentioned by the apostle, Eph.1:10--
    and he here affirms, that, unto this end, the Lord was made flesh;
    "secundum principalem plasmationem", as his words are rendered; that
    is plainly, the original creation of our nature in innocence,
    uprightness, purity, and righteousness.) "So he saved in himself in
    the end, what perished in Adam at the beginning." (The same nature, in
    and by the same nature.) "For if the Lord had been incarnate for any
    other disposition," (i. e., cause, reason, or end,) "and had brought
    flesh from any other substance," (i. e., celestial or ethereal, as the
    agnostics imagined,) "he had not recovered men, brought our nature
    unto a head in himself, nor could he have been said to be flesh. He
    therefore himself had flesh and blood not of any other kind; but he
    took to himself that which was originally created of the Father,
    seeking that which was lost." The same is observed by Augustine: (Lib.
    de Fide, ad Petrum Diaconum:) "Sic igitur Christum Dei Filium, id est,
    unam ex Trinitate personam, Deum verum crede, ut divinitatem ejus de
    natura Patris natam esse non dubites; et sic eum verum hominem crede,
    et ejus carnem, non coelestis, non aeriae, non alterius cujusquam
    putes esse naturae, sed ejus coujus est omnium caro; id est, quam ipse
    Deus, homini primo de terra plasmavit, et caeteris hominibus plasmat."-

  • "So believe Christ the Son of God, that is, one person of the Trinity, to be the true God, that you doubt not but that his divinity
    was born" (hy eternal generation) "of the nature of the Father; and so
    believe him to be a true man, that you suppose not his flesh to be
    aerial, or heavenly, or of any other nature, but of that which is the
    flesh of men; that is, which God himself formed in the first man of
    the earth, and which he forms in all other men." That which he speaks
    of one person of the Trinity, has respect unto the heretical opinion
    of Hormisdas, the bishop of Rome, who contended that it was unlawful
    to say that one person of the Trinity was incarnate, and persecuted
    some Scythian monks, men not unlearned about it, who were strenuously
    defended by Maxentius, one of them.

    It carrieth in it a great condecency unto divine wisdom, that man
    should be restored unto the image of God by him who was the essential
    image of the Father; (as is declared in our discourse;) and that he
    was made like unto us, that we might be made like unto him, and unto
    God through him. So speaks the same Irenaeus: (lib. 5 Praefat:)
    "Verbum Dei Jesus Christus, qui propter immensam suam dilectionem,
    factus est quod sumus nos, ut nos perficeret quod est ipse".--"Jesus
    Christ, the Word of God, who, from his own infinite love, was made
    what we are, that he might make us what he is;" that is, by the
    restoration of the image of God in us. And again: (lib. 3 cap. 20:)
    "Filius Dei existens semper apud Patrem, et homo factus, longam
    hominum expositionem in seipso recapitulavit; in compendio nobis
    salutem praestans, ut quod perdideramus in Adam, id est, secundum
    imaginem et similitudinem esse Dei, hoc in Christo Jesus reciperemus.
    Quia enim non erat ppossibile, eum hominem, qui semel victus fuerat et
    elisus per inobedientiam, replasmare et obtinere brabium (brateion)
    victoriae; iterum autem impossibile erat ut salutem perciperet, qui
    sub peccato ceciderat. Utraque operatus est filius Verbum Dei
    existens, a Patre descendens et incarnatus, et usque ad mortem
    descendens, et dispensationem consummans salutis nostrae".--"Being the
    Son of God always with the Father, and being made man, he reconciled
    or gathered up in himself the long-continued exposing of men," (unto
    sin and judgment,) "bringing in salvation in this compendious way, (in
    this summary of it,) that what we had lost in Adam--that is, our being
    in the image and likeness of God--we should recover in Christ. For it
    was not possible that man that had been once conquered and broken by
    disobedience, should by himself be reformed, and obtain the crown of
    victory; nor, again, was it possible that he should recover salvation
    who had fallen under sin. Both were wrought by the Son, the Word of
    God, who, descending from the Father, and being incarnate, submitted
    himself to death, perfecting the dispensation of our salvation."

    And Clemens Alexandrinus to the same purpose: (Adhort. ad Gentes.)
    "Nai femi ho logos h tou Theou anthroopos genomenos, hina de kai su
    para anthroopou matheis, te pote ara anthroopos genetai Theos".--"The
    Word of God was made man, that thou mightest learn of a man how man
    may become" (as) "God." And Ambrose, in Ps. 118 Octonar. decim.: [of
    the authorized English version, Ps. 119 73:] "Imago, [id est, Verbum
    Dei,] ad eum qui est d imaginem, [hoc est, hominem,] venit, et quaerit
    imago eum qui est ad similitudinem sui, ut iterum signet, ut iterum
    confirmet, quia amiseras quod accepisti."--"The image of God, that is,
    the Word of God, came unto him who was after the image of God, that is
    man. And this image of God seeks him who was after the image of God,
    that he might seal him with it again, and confirm him, because thou
    hadst lost that which thou hadst received." And Augustine in one
    instance gives a rational account why it was condecent unto divine
    wisdom that the Son, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit, should be
    incarnate--which we also inquire into: (Lib. de Definitionibus
    Orthodoxae Fidei sive de Ecclesiastica Dogmatibus, cap. 2:) "Non Pater
    carnem assumpsit, neque Spiritus Sanctus, set Filius tantum; at qui
    erat in divinitate Dei Patris Filius, ipse fieret in homine hominis
    matris Filius; ne Filii nomen ad alterum transiret, qui non esset
    eterna nativitate filius".--"The Father did not assume flesh, nor the
    Holy Spirit, but the Son only; that he who in the Deity was the Son of
    the Father, should be made the Son of man, in his mother of human
    race; that the name of the Son should not pass unto any other, who was
    not the Son by an eternal nativity."

    I shall close with one meditation of the same author, concerning the
    wisdom and righteousness of God in this mystery: (Enchirid. ad
    Laurent., cap. 99:) "Vide--universum genus humanum tam justo judicio
    Divino in apostatica radice damnatum, ut etiam si nullus inde
    liberaretur, nemo recte possit Dei vituperare justitiam; et qui
    liberantur, sic oportuisse liberari, ut ex pluribus non liberatis,
    atque in damnatione justissima derelictis, ostenderetur, quod
    meruisset universa conspersio, et quo etiam istos debitum judicium Dei
    duceret, nisi ejus indebita misericordia subveniret."---"Behold, the
    whole race of mankind, by the just judgment of God, so condemned in
    the apostatical root, that if no one were thence delivered, yet no man
    could rightly complain of the justice of God; and that those who are
    freed, ought so to be freed, that, from the greater number who are not
    freed, but left under most righteous condemnation, it might be
    manifest what the whole mass had deserved, and whither the judgment of
    God due unto them would lead them, if his mercy, which was not due,
    did not relieve them." The reader may see what is discoursed unto
    these purposes: and because the great end of the description given of
    the person of Christ, is that we may love him, and thereby be
    transformed into his image, I shall close this preface with the words
    of Jerome, concerning that divine love unto Christ which is at large
    declared. "sive legas", says he, "sive scribas, sive vigiles, sive
    dormias, amor tibi semper buccina in auribus sonet, hic lituus excitet
    animam tuam, hoc amore furibundus; quaere in lectulo tuo, quem
    desiderat anima tue:" Epist. 66 ad Pammach., cap. 10.--"Whether thou
    readest or writest, whether thou watchest or sleepest, let the voice
    of love (to Christ) sound in thine ears; let this trumpet stir up thy
    soul: being overpowered (brought into an ecstasy) with this love, seek
    Him on thy bed whom thy soul desireth and longeth for."

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