|« Prev||Chapter XIX. Of the kingly office of Jesus…||Next »|
Of the kingly office of Jesus Christ, and of the worship that is ascribed and due to him.
Of the nature of the kingly office of Jesus Christ, his investiture with it, his administration of it, with the efficacy of that power which therein he puts forth, both towards his elect and others, Mr Biddle doth not administer any occasion to discourse. It is acknowledged by him that he was, or at least is, a king, by the designation and appointment of the Father, to whom, as he was mediator, he was subject; that he abides in his rule and dominion as such, and shall do so to the end of the world; and I shall not make any farther inquiry as to these things, unless farther occasion be administered. Upon the account of this authority they say he is God. But whereas it is certain that this authority of his shall cease at the end of the 372world, 1 Cor. xv. 28, it seems that he shall then also cease to be God, such a God as they now allow him to be.
By some passages in his second and third questions, he seems to intimate that Christ was not invested in his kingdom before his ascension into heaven. So question the second, “Is Christ already invested in his kingdom, and did he, after his ascension and sitting down at the right hand of God, exercise dominion and sovereignty over men and angels?” and question third, “For what cause and to what end was Jesus Christ exalted to his kingdom?” — to which he answers from Phil. ii. 8–10 in both places; intimating that Christ was not invested with his kingly power until after his exaltation. (As for the ends of his exaltation, these being some mentioned, though not all, nor the chief, I shall not farther insist on them.) But this, as it is contrary to the testimony that himself gave of his being a king in a kingdom which was not of this world, it being a great part of that office whereunto he was of his Father anointed, so it is altogether inconsistent with Mr B.’s principles, who maintains that he was worshipped with religious worship and honour whilst he was upon the earth; which honour and worship, says he, are due to him and to be performed merely upon the account of that power and authority which is given him of God, as also say all his companions; and certainly his power and authority belong to him as king. The making of him a king and the making of him a god is with them all one; but that he was a god whilst he was upon the earth they acknowledge from the words of Thomas to him, “My Lord and my God.”
And the title of the 12th chapter of Smalcius’ book, “De Vera Jesu Christi Divinitate,” is, “De nomine Dei, quod Jesus Christus in terris mortalis degens habuit;”400400 “Divinitas autem Jesu Christi qualis sit, discimus ex sacris literis, nempe talis, quæ propter munus ipsius divinum tota ei tribuitur.” — Smalc. de Divin. Jesu. Chris. cap. xii. which in the chapter itself he seeks to make good by sundry instances, and in the issue labours to prove that the sole cause of the attribution of that name to him is from his office; but what office, indeed, he expresseth not. The name of God, they say, is a name of office and authority; the authority of Christ, on which account he is to be worshipped, is that which he hath as king. And yet the same author afterward contends that Christ was not a king until after his resurrection and ascension.401401 “Nec enim prius D. Jesus Rex reipsa factus est, quam cum consedit ad dextram Dei patris, et regnare reipsa in cœlo, et in terra cœpit.” — Idem, cap. xiii. Sect 3. “Dominus et Deus proculdubio a Thoma appellatur, quia sit talis Dominus, qui divino modo in homines imperium habeat, et divino etiam illud modo exercere possit, et exerceat.” — Idem, cap. xxiv. de Fid. in Christum, etc. For my part, I am not solicitous about reconciling him to himself; let them that are so take pains, if they please, therein. Some pains, I conceive, it may cost them, considering that he afterward affirms 373expressly that he was called Lord and God of Thomas because of his divine rule or kingdom; which, as I remember, was before his ascension.
As for his exaltation at his ascension, it was not by any investiture in any new office, but by an admission to the execution of that part of his work of mediatorship which did remain, in a full and glorious manner, the whole concernment of his humiliation being past. In the meantime, doubtless, he was a king when the Lord of glory was crucified, 1 Cor. ii. 8.
But that which remains of this chapter is more fully to be considered.
Question 4 is, “How ought men to honour the Son of God?”
From hence to the end of the chapter, Mr B. insists on the religious worship and invocation of Jesus Christ; which, with all his companions, he places as the consequent of his kingly office and of that authority wherewith, for the execution and discharge thereof, from God he is invested. I shall very briefly consider what is tendered by Mr B. to the purpose in hand, and then take liberty a little more largely to handle the whole business of the worship of Jesus Christ, with the grounds, reasons, and motives thereof.
His fourth question to this matter is, “How ought men to honour the Son of God, Christ Jesus,” and it is answered, “John v. 23, ‘Even as they honour the Father.’ ”
This, then, is consented unto on both sides, that Jesus Christ is to be worshipped and honoured with the same worship and honour wherewith the Father is worshipped and honoured; that is, with that worship and honour which is divine and religious, — with that subjection of soul, and in the performance of those duties, which are due to God alone.402402 Οὐ κτιστὸς τοίνυν ὁ λόγος ὅτι προσκύνητος. — Epiphan. in Ancorat. How Socinus himself doubled in this business and was entangled shall be afterward discovered. What use will be made of this in the issue of this discourse the reader may easily conjecture.
His next question, discovering the danger of the non-performance of this duty of yielding divine honour and worship to Christ, strengthens the former assertion, and therefore I have nothing to except or add thereunto.
In question the sixth, Mr B. labours to defend the throat of his cause against the edge of that weapon which is sharpened against it by this concession, that Jesus Christ is to be worshipped with divine worship as the Father is, by a diversion of it, with a consideration of the grounds of the assignation of this worship to Christ. His words are:—
Q. Ought men to honour the Son as they honour the Father because he hath the same essence with the Father, or because he hath the same judiciary power? what is the decision of the Son himself concerning this point?
A. John v. 22, 23.
374The sum is: The same worship is to be given to the Father and the Son, but upon several grounds; — to the Father, because he is God by nature, because of his divine essence; to the Son, because of a delegated judiciary power committed to him by the Father. For the discovery of the vanity of this assertion, in the close of our consideration of this matter, I shall manifest, —
1. That there neither is nor can be any more than one formal cause of the attribution of the same divine worship to any one; so that to whomsoever it is ascribed, it is upon one and the same individual account, as to the formal and fundamental cause thereof.
2. That no delegated power of judgment is or can be a sufficient ground or cause of yielding that worship and honour to him to whom it is delegated which is proper to God.
For the present, to the text pleaded, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father,” I say in brief, that ἵνα πάντες τιμῶσι is not expressive of the formal cause of the honouring and adoration of Christ, but of an effectual motive to men to honour him, to whom, upon the account of his divine nature, that honour is due; — as in the first commandment, “I am the Lord thy God, that brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; thou shalt have no other gods before me,” that expression, “That brought thee out of the land of Egypt,” is a motive to the worship of God, but not the formal cause of it, that being due to him as he is by nature God, blessed for ever, though he had never brought that people out of Egypt. But of this more afterward.
Question 7, a farther diversion from the matter in hand is attempted by this inquiry:—
Q. Did the Father give judiciary power to the Son, because he had in him the divine nature personally united to the human, or because he was the Son of man? what is the decision of the Son himself concerning this point also?
A. “He hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man,” John v. 27.
1. A point in difference is stated, and its decision inquired after, wherein there is no such difference at all. Nor do we say that God gave Christ the judiciary power, wherewith as mediator he is invested, because he had in him the divine nature personally united to the human. The power that Christ hath upon the account of his divine nature is not delegated, but essential to him. Nor can Mr B. name any that have so stated the difference as he here proposes it.
2. We say not that Christ had in him the divine nature personally united to the human, but that the human nature was personally united to the divine, his personality belonging to him upon the account of his divine nature, not his human.
3. We grant that the judiciary power that was delegated to 375Christ as mediator, he being appointed of God to judge the world, was given him “because he is the Son of man,” or was made man to be our mediator, and to accomplish the great work of the salvation of mankind; but that divine worship, proper to God the Father, is due, and to be yielded and ascribed to him, on this ground and reason, “because he is the Son of man,” Mr B. cannot prove, nor doth attempt it.
The 8th, 9th, and 10th questions belong not to us. We grant it was and is the will and command of God that Jesus Christ, the mediator, should be worshipped of angels and men, and that he was so worshipped even in this world, for “when he brought the first-begotten into the world, he said, Let all the angels of God worship him,” Heb. i. 6; and that he is also to be worshipped now, having finished his work, being exalted on the right hand of God; — but that the bottom, foundation, and sold formal cause of the worship which God so commands to be yielded to him, is any thing but his being “God, blessed for evermore,” or his being the “only-begotten Son of God,” there is not in the places mentioned the least intimation.
The 11th and 12th look again the same way with the former, and with the same success. Saith he, —
Q. When men ascribe glory and dominion to Jesus Christ in the Scripture, and withal intimate the ground thereof, is it because they conceive him to be very God, and to have been eternally begotten out of the divine essence, or because he gave himself to death? let me hear how they explain themselves?
A. Rev. v. 9.
Q. Are the angels of the same opinion with the saints, when they also ascribe the glory and dominion to him? let me hear how they also explain themselves?
A. Rev. v. 11, 12.
Of both these places afterward.
At present, — 1. Christ as a lamb is Christ as mediator, both God and man, to whom all honour and glory is due.
2. Neither saints nor angels do give, nor pretend to give, the reason why Christ is to be worshipped, or what is the formal reason why divine worship is ascribed to him, but only what is in their thoughts and considerations a powerful and effectual motive to love, fear, worship, and ascribe all glory to him; as David often cries, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” (or assigns glory and honour to him), because he had done such or such things, intimating a motive to his worship, and not the prime foundation and cause why he is to be worshipped.
Having spoken thus to the adoration of Christ, his last question is about his invocation, which he proves from sundry places of Scripture, not inquiring into the reasons of it; so that., adding that to the former concession of the worship and honour due to him, I shall close these considerations with this one syllogism: “He who is to be worshipped by angels and men with that divine worship which is 376due to God the Father, and to be prayed unto, called on, believed in, is God by nature, blessed for ever; but, according to the confession of Mr B., Jesus Christ is to be worshipped by angels and men with that divine worship which is due even to God the Father, and to be prayed unto: therefore is he God by nature, over all, blessed for ever.” The inference of the major proposition I shall farther confirm in the ensuing considerations of the worship that is ascribed to Jesus Christ in the Scripture.
In the endeavour of Faustus Socinus to set up a new religion, there was not any thing wherein he was more opposed, or wherewith he was more exercised by the men of the same design with himself, than in this, about the worship and invocation of Jesus Christ. He and his uncle Lælius urging amongst others this proposition, “That Christ was not God,” Franciscus David, Budæus, Christianus Franken, Palæologus, with others, made the conclusion that he was not to be worshipped as God, nor called upon. With some of these he had sundry disputes and conferences, and was miserably intricated by them, being unable to defend his opinion upon his hypothesis of the person of Christ. That Christ is to be worshipped and invocated, indeed, he proves well and learnedly, as in many places, so especially in his third epistle to Matthias Radecius; but coming to knit his arguments to his other opinion concerning Christ, he was perpetually gravelled, as more especially it befell him in his dispute with Christianus Franken, anno 1584, as is evident in what is extant of that dispute, written by Socinus himself. Of the chief argument insisted on by Franken I shall speak afterward: see “Disput. cum Franken,” pp. 24, 25, 28, 35, etc. Against Franciscus David he wrote a peculiar tract, and to him an epistle, to prove that the words of Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” were spoken of Christ, and therefore he was to be worshipped (Epist. p. 186); wherein he positively affirms that there was no other reading of the words (as David vainly pretended) but what is the common use, because Erasmus made mention of no such thing, who would not have omitted it could he have made any discovery thereof, being justly supposed to be no good friend to the Trinity.403403 “Primum igitur quod attinet ad priorem rationem dico, diversam illam lectionem non extare, ut arbitror, neque in ullo probato codice, neque apud ullum probatum scriptorem, quod vel ex eo constare potest, quod Erasmus in suis Annotatioaibus quamvis de hoc ipso loco agat, ejus rei nullam prorsus mentionem facit. Qui Erasmus, cure hoc in genere nusquam non diligentissime versatur; tum in omnibus locis in quibus Christus Deus appellari videtur, adeo diligenter omnia verba expendit, atque examinat, ut non immerito et Trinitariis Arianismi suspectus fuerit, et ab Antitrinitariis inter eos relatus, qui subobscure Trinitati reclamaverint.” — Faust. Socin. Ep. ad Franc. David. pp. 186, 187. That men may know what to judge of some of his annotations, as well as those of Grotius, who walks in the same paths, is this remarked. Wherefore he and his associates rejected this Franciscus David afterward as a detestable heretic, and utterly 377deserted him when he was cast into prison by the prince of Transylvania, where he died miserably, raving and crying out that the devils expected and waited for his company in his journey which he had to go (Florim. Rem lib. iv. cap. xii.); the account whereof Smalcius also gives us in his refutation of Franzius, Theses de Hypocrit. disput. 9, p. 298.404404 “Exemplum denique affert nostrorum, Thes. 108. Quomodo se gesserint in Transylvania in negotio Francisci Davidis, quomodo semetipsos in actu illo inter se reos agant vafriciæ, perfidiæ, crudelitatis, sanguinariæ proditionis, etc., sed his primum regero: non exemplis, sed legibus judicandum esse: si nostri ita se gesserunt ut scribit Frantzius, etc. Deinde dico falso ista objecta fuisse ab autoribus scripti, quod citat Frantzius nostris: nec enim fraterne tractarunt Franciscum Davidem, usque ad ipsum agonem, quanquam eum ut fratrem tractare non tenebantur, qui in Jesu Christi veram divinitatem tam impie involabat, ut dicere non dubitaret, tantum peccatum esse eum invocare, quantum est, si Virgo Maria invocetur,” etc. — Smalc. Refut. Thes. Franz. disput. 9, p. 298.
After these stirs and disputations, it grew the common tenet of Socinus and his followers (see his epistle to Enjedinus) that those who denied that Christ was to be worshipped and invocated were not to be accounted Christians (which how well it agrees with other of his assertions shall instantly be seen). So Socinus himself leads the way, Respon. ad Niemojevium, Ep. i.; who is followed by Volkelius.405405 “Recte igitur existimasti, mlhl quoque verisimile videri, eum qui Dominum Jesum Christum invocare non vult, aut non audet, vix Christiani nomine dignum esse: nisi quod non modo vix, sed ne vix quidem, et non modo verisimile id mihi videtur, sed persuasissimum mihi est.” “Unless,” saith he, “we dare to call on the name of Christ, we should not be worthy of the name of Christians.”406406 “Eum invocare si non audeamus, Christiano nomine haud satis digni merito existimari possemus.” — Volkel, de Vera Relig. lib. iv. cap. xi. De Christi invocatione, p. 221. And he is attended by the Racovian Catechism, De præcept. Christi, cap. i., whose author affirms plainly that he esteemed them not Christians who worshipped him not, and accounted that indeed they had not Christ, however in word they durst not deny him.407407 “Quid vero sentis de iis hominibus qui Christum non invocant, nec invocandum censent? — Prorsus non esse Christianos sentio: cum reipsa Christum non habeant, et licet verbis id negare non audeant, repsa tamen negent.” — Cat. Rac. De præcept. Christi. cap. i. p. 126.
And of the rest the same is the judgment; but yet with what consistency with what they also affirm concerning this invocation of Christ, we shall now briefly consider.
Socinus, in his third epistle to Matthias Radecius, whom he everywhere speaks honourably of, and calls him “excellent man,” “friend,” “brother,” and “much-to-be-observed lord”408408 “Eruditione, virtute, pietate, præstantissimo viro D. Matthæo Radecio, amico, et domino mihi plurimum observsado, etc. Præstissime vir, amice, frater, ac domine plurimum observande.” (because he was a great man), who yet denied and opposed this invocation of Christ, lays this down in the entrance of his discourse, that there is nothing of greater moment in Christian religion than the demonstration of this, 378“That invocation and adoration, or divine worship, do agree to Christ, although he be a created thing.”409409 “Video enim nihil hodie edi posse in tota Christiana religione majoris momenti quam hoc sit, demonstratio, videlicet, quod Christo licet creaturæ tamen invocatio et adoratio seu cultus divinus conveniat.” — Socin. Ep. 3 ad Rad. p. 143. And in the following words he gives you the reason of the importance of the proof of this assertion, namely, “Because the Trinitarians’ main strength and argument lies in this, that adoration and invocation are due to Christ, which are proper only to the most high God.”410410 “Si enim hoc demonstratum fuerit, concident omnes Trinitariorum munitiones, quæ revera uno hoc fundamento nituntur adhuc, quod Christo adoratio et invocatio conveniunt, quæ solius Dei illius altissimi omni ratione videtur esse propria.” — Id ibid. Which makes me bold on the other side to affirm, that there is nothing in Christian religion more clear, nor more needful to be confirmed, than this, that divine worship neither is, can, nor ought, by the will of God, to be ascribed to any who by nature is not God, to any that is a mere creature, of what dignity, power, and authority soever. But yet now, when this zealous champion for the invocation of Christ comes to prove his assertion, being utterly destitute of the use of that which is the sure bottom and foundation thereof, he dares go no farther, but only says that we may call upon Christ if we will, but for any precept making it neccessary so to do, that he says there is none.
And therefore he distinguisheth between the adoration of Christ and his invocation.411411 “Hic primum adorationem cum invocatione confundis, quod tamen fieri non debet, cum utriusque sit diversa quædam ratio, adeo ut ego, quamvis nihil prorsus dubitem, præceptum extare de adorando Christo, et etiamsi non extaret, tamen eum a nobis adorari omnino debere, non idem tamen existimem de eodem invocando, cum videlicet invocatio pro ipsa opis imploratione, et directione precum nostrarum accipitur. Hic enim statuo id quidem merito a nobis fieri posse, id est, posse nos jure ad ipsum Christum preces nostras dirigere, nihil tamen esse quod nos id facere cogat.” — Socin. Ep. 3 ad Rad. p. 151. For the first, he affirms that it is commanded, or at least that things are so ordered that we ought to adore him; but of the latter, says he, “There is no precept, only we may do so if we will.” The same he had before affirmed in his answer to Franciscus David.412412 “Christum Dominum invocare possumus, sed non debemus, sive non tenemur.” Yea, in the same discourse he affirms, that “if we have so much faith as that we can go with confidence to God without him, we need not invocate Christ.”413413 “Quod si quis tanta est fide præditus, ut ad Deum ipsum perpetuo recte accedere audeat, huic non opus est ut Christum invocet.” — Disput. cum Fran. p. 4. “We may,” saith he, “invocate Christ; but we are not bound so to do.” Whence Niemojevius falls upon him, and tells him that he had utterly spoiled their cause by that concession;414414 “Legi quoque diligenter responsionem tuam ad argumenta Francisci Davidis, ubi Christi Domini invocationem honoremque nomini ejus sacrosancto convenientem asseris, ac contra calumnias Francisci Davidis defendis. Attamen videris mihi, paucis verbis, optimam sententiam non tantum obscurasse, sed quasi in dubium revocasse, adversariosque in errore confirmasse. Quæris quid sit quod tantum malum secum importare possit? Breviter respondeo, verba ilia quæ sæpius addis, Christum Dominum invocaro posaumus, sed non debemus, sive non tenemur, etc., ruinam negotio, causæque tuæ minantur. Non possum perclpere quomodo hæc conciliari possint: non debemus, sed possumus, quasi in negotio salutis nostræ liberum sit facere vel omittere, prout nobis aliquid magis necessarium, vel e contra visum fuerit.” — Niemojevius, Ep. 1 ad Faust. Socin. anno 1587. to deliver himself from which charge, 379how pitifully he intricates himself may be seen in his answer to that epistle. Now, whether this man hath sufficient cause to exclude any from being Christians for the non-performance of that which himself dares not affirm that they ought to do, and with what consistency of principles these things are affirmed, is easy to judge.
Of the same judgment with him is Volk. de Vera Relig. lib. iv. cap. xi. de Christi invocatione, Schlichting. ad Meisner., pp. 206, 207, and generally the rest of them; which again how consistent it is with what they affirm in the Racovian Catechism, — namely, that this is an addition which Jesus Christ hath made to the first commandment, that he himself is to be acknowledged a God, to whom we are bound to yield divine honour,415415 “Quid præterea huic præcepto primo Dominus Jesus addidit? — Id quod etiam Dominum Jesum pro Deo agnoscere tenemur; id est, pro eo qui in nos potestatem habet divinam et cui nos divinum exhibere honorem obstricti sumus.” — Cat. Rac. cap. i. De præcep. Christi. — I see not; for if this be added to the first commandment, that we should worship him as God, it is scarce, doubtless, at our liberty to call upon him or no. Of the same mind is Smalcius, De Divinitate Jesu Christi, — a book that he offered to Sigismund III., king of Poland, by the means of Jacobus Sienienska, palatine of Podolia, in the year 1608; who, in his epistle to the king, calls him his pastor.416416 “Cum itaque nuper, libellus de Christi divinitate conscriptus, esset mihi a pastore meo, viro cum primis pio et literato, oblatus, in quo — disseruit.” — Ep. Dedic. ad Sigismund. And yet the same person doth, in another place of the same treatise, most bitterly inveigh against them who will not worship nor invocate Christ, affirming that they are worse than the Trinitarians themselves,417417 “Videtur autem hoc imprimis modo diabolus insidias struere Domino Jesu, dum scilicet tales excitat, qui non dubitant affirmare Dominum Jesum nunc plane esse otiosum in cœlis, et res humanas vel salutem hominum non aliter curare, quam Moses curat salutem Judæorum. Qui quidem homines, professione videri volunt Christiani, interne veto Christum abnegarunt, et spiritu judaico, qui semper Christo fuit inimicissimus, infiati sunt; et si quis jure cum eis agere velit, indigni plane sunt, qui inter Christianos numerentur, quantumvis ore tenus Christum profiteantur, et multa de eo garriant; adeo ut multo tolerabilior sit error illorum qui Christum pro illo uno Deo habent et colunt, quam istorum: et præstet, ex duobus malis minus quod aiunt eligendo, Trinitarium quam hujusmodi blasphemum esse.” — Smalc. de Ver. Christi Divin. cap. xv. De regn. Christi moderno. — than which, it seems, he could invent nothing more vile to compare them with, — and yet again [he says] that there is no precept that he should be invocated, Cat. Rac. (that is, the same person with the former), cap. v. De præcep. Christi, quæ legem prefecerunt.418418 “Est enim invocatio Jesu Christi, ex numero earum rerum, quas præcipere nullo modo opus est.” — Idem, cap. xxiv. De fide in Christum, et de adorat, et invocat. Christi. So also Ostorodius, Compendiolum Doctrinæ Ecclesiæ Christianæ nunc in Polonia potissimum fiorentis, cap. I. sect. 2.
380It is, then, on all hands concluded that Jesus Christ is to be worshipped with divine and religious worship, due to God only.
Fixing this as a common and indisputable principle, I shall subjoin and prove these two assertions:— 1. In general, Divine worship is not to be ascribed to any that is not God by nature, who is not partaker of the divine essence and being. 2. In particular, Jesus Christ is not to be worshipped on the account of the power and authority which he hath received from God as mediator, but solely on the account of his being “God, blessed for ever.”419419 Νήπιος ὅστις ἄνακτα Θεοῦ λόγον αιὲν ἔοντα Οὐ σέβετ ἰσοθέωσ πατρὸς ἐπουρανίου. Νήπιος ὅστις ἄνακτα λόγον βροτὸν ἔνθα φανέντα. Οὐ σέβετ ἰσοθέως οὐρανίοιο λόγου. Gregor. Theol. And this is all that is required in answer to this tenth chapter of Mr B. What follows on the heads mentioned is for the farther satisfaction of the reader in these things upon the occasion administered, and for his assistance to the obviating of some other Socinian sophisms that he may meet withal. I shall be brief in them both.
For the first, Divine worship is not to be ascribed to them whom God will certainly destroy. He will not have us to worship them whom himself hateth But, now, all gods that have not made the heavens and the earth he will destroy from under these heavens: Jer. x. 11, “Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” It is a thing that God would have the nations take notice of, and therefore is it written in the Chaldee dialect in the original, that they who were principally concerned in those days might take the more notice of it. And it is an instruction that God put into the mouths of the meanest of his people, that they should say it to them: “Say ye to them.” And the assertion is universal, to all whomsoever that have not made the heavens and earth, — and so is applicable to the Socinians’ Christ. A god they say he is, as Elijah said of Baal, 1 Kings xviii. 27; he is made so: but that he made the heavens and earth they deny; and therefore he is so far from having any right to be worshipped, that God hath threatened he shall be destroyed.
Again; the apostle reckons it among the sins of the Gentiles that “they worshipped them who by nature were no gods,” Gal. iv. 8,420420 Ἐδουλεύσατε τοῖς μὴ φύσει οὖσι θεοῖς. from which we are delivered by the knowledge of God in the gospel And the weight of the apostle’s assertion of the sin of the Gentiles lies in this, that by nature they were not gods who were worshipped. So that this is a thing indispensable, that divine worship should not be given to any who is not God by nature; and surely we are not called in the gospel to the practice of that which is the greatest sin of the heathens, that know not God. And to manifest that this is a 381thing which the law of nature gives direction in, not depending on institution, Rom. i., it is reckoned among those sins which are against the light of nature. They “worshipped the creature” (besides, or) “more than” (or with) “the Creator,”421421 Ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα. verse 25, “who is God, blessed for evermore.” To worship a creature, him who is not the Creator, God, blessed for ever, is that idolatry which is condemned in the Gentiles as a sin against the light of nature; which to commit God cannot (be it spoken with reverence!) dispense with the sons of men (for he cannot deny himself), much less institute and appoint them so to do.422422 Vid. Diatrib. de Just. Div. vol. x. It being, then, on all hands confessed that Christ is to be worshipped with divine or religious worship, it will be easy to make the conclusion that he is God by nature, blessed for evermore.
That also is general and indispensable which you have, Jer. xvii. 5, 6, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh.” That which we worship with divine worship we trust in, and make it our arm and strength. And these words, “And whose heart departeth from the Lord,” are not so much an addition to what is before cursed as a declaration of it. All trust in man, who is no more but so, with that kind of trust wherewith we trust in Jehovah (as by the antithesis, verse 7, is evident that it is intended), is here cursed. If Christ be only a man by nature, however exalted and invested with authority, yet to trust in him as we trust in Jehovah, — which we do if we worship him with divine worship, — would, by this rule, be denounced a cursed thing.
Rev. xix. 10, xxii. 8, 9, do add the command of God to the general reason insisted on in the places before mentioned: “I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God.” So again, chap. xxii. 9. There are evidently two reasons assigned by the angel why John ought not to worship him:— 1. Because he was a servant. He that is a servant of God, and is no more, is not to be worshipped. Now, he that is not God at his best estate, however exalted, is but a servant in respect of God, and a fellow-servant of the saints, and no more, chap. vi. 11. All his creatures serve him, and for his will they were made. Such and no other is the Socinians’ Christ, who is clearly deprived of all worship by this prohibition and reason of it. 2. From the command, and the natural and eternal obligation of it, in these repeated words, Τῷ Θεῷ προκύνησον.423423 Ἐδίδασκε ὡς δὲ καὶ τὸν Θεὸν μόνον δεῖ προσκυνεῖν εἰπὼν μεγίστη ἐντολή ἐστι κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις — Justin Mar. Apol. It is the word of the law that our Saviour himself 382insists on, Matt. iv. 10, that is here repeated; and the force of the angel’s reason for the strengthening his prohibition, is from hence, that no other but he who is God, that God intended by the law and by our Saviour, Matt. iv., is to be worshipped. For if the intendment of the words were only positive, that God is to be worshipped, and did not also at the same time exclude every one whatever from all divine worship who is not that God, they would be of no force for the reproof of John in his attempt to worship the angel nor have any influence into his prohibition. And thus that angel, who, chap. v. 9–13, shows John all creatures in heaven and on earth yielding divine worship and adoration to the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the close of all appropriates all that worship to God himself alone, and for ever shuts out the most glorious creature from our thoughts and intentions in the performance of any divine worship or religious adoration.
And it may hence appear how vain is that plea of the adversaries, to avoid the force of this reproof, which is managed by Schlichtingius against Meisnerus. “To those places,” saith he, “where mention is made of God as alone to be worshipped, I answer, that by those exclusive particles, ‘alone,’ and the like, when they are used of God, they are not simply excluded who depend on God in that thing which is treated of. So is he said to be only wise, only powerful, only immortal, and yet those who are made partakers of them from God ought not simply to be excluded from wisdom, power, and immortality. Wherefore, when it is said that God alone is to be worshipped and adored, he ought not to be simply excluded who herein dependeth on God, because of that divine rule over all which he hath of him received, yea, he is rather included.”424424 “Respondeo particulis istis exclusivis, qualis et solus, et similis, cum de Deo usurpantur, nunquam cos simpliciter excludi, qui a Deo, in ea re de qua agitur, dependent. Sic dicitur solus Deus sapiens, solus potens, solus immortalis, neque tamen simpliciter a sapientia, a potentia, ab immortalitate excludi debent et alii, qui istarum rerum participes sunt effecti. Quare jam cum solus Deus adorandus aut invocandus esse dicitur, excludi simpliciter non debet is, qui hac in parte a Deo pendet, propter divinum ab ipso in cuncta acceptum imperium, sed potius tacite simul includendus est.” — Schlichting. ad Meisner. Artic. de Deo, pp. 206, 207. So the most learned of that tribe. But, —
1. By this rule nothing is appropriated unto God, nor any thing excluded from a participation with him, by that particle mentioned: and wherever any thing is said of God only, we are to understand it of God and others; for on him, in all things, do all other things depend.
2. When it is said that God only is wise, etc., though it doth not absolutely deny that any other may be wise with that wisdom which is proper to them, yet it absolutely denies that any one partakes with God in his wisdom, — is wise as God is wise, with that kind of wisdom wherewith God is wise. And so where it is said that God only is to be 383worshipped and honoured, though it doth not exclude all others from any kind of worship and honour, but that they may have that which is due to them by God’s appointment, from their excellency and pre-eminence, yet it doth absolutely exclude any from being worshipped with divine worship; that is due and proper to God.
3. We shall show afterward that whatever dignity, rule, and dominion they say is given to Christ, and whatever excellency in him doth thence arise, yet it is quite of another kind, and stands upon another foot of account, than that essential excellency that is in God; and so cannot nor doth require the same kind of worship as is due to God.
4. Angels and men are depending on God in authority and power, and therefore, if this rule be true, they are not excluded from divine and religious worship in the command of worshipping God only; and so they may be worshipped with divine and religious adoration and invocation as well as Jesus Christ. Neither is it any thing but a mere begging of the thing in question, to say that it is divine power that is delegated to Christ, which that is not that is delegated to angels and men. That power which is properly divine and the formal cause of divine worship is incommunicable, nor can be delegated, nor is in any who is not essentially God. So that the power of Christ and angels being of the same kind, though his be more and greater than theirs as to degrees, they are to be worshipped with the same kind of worship, though he may be worshipped more than they.
5. This is the substance of Schlichtingius’ rule, “When any thing is affirmed of God exclusively to others, — indeed others are not excluded, but included”!
6. We argue not only from the exclusive particle, but from the nature of the thing itself. So that, this pretended rule and exception notwithstanding, all and every thing whatever that is not God is by God himself everlastingly excluded from the least share in divine or religious worship, with express condemnation of them who assign it to them.
The same evasion with that insisted on by Schlichtingius, Socinus himself had before used, who professes that this is the bottom and foundation of all his arguments in his disputation with Franciscus David about the invocation of Christ, that others as well as God may be worshipped and invocated, in his third epistle to Volkelius, where he labours to answer the objection of John’s praying for grace from “the seven spirits that are before the throne of Christ,” Rev. i. 4, “But why, I pray, is it absurd to affirm that those seven spirits (supposing them mere creatures) were invocated of John? Is it because God alone is to be invocated? But that this reason is of no value that whole disputation doth demonstrate, not only because it is nowhere forbidden that we should invocate any other but God” (os 384durum), “but also, and much rather, because those interdictions never exclude those who are subordinate to God himself.”425425 “Sed cur quæso absurdum est affirmare septem illos spiritus a Johanne fuisse invocatos? An quia solus Deus est invocandus? Atqui hanc rationem nihili ease tota ilia disputatione demonstratur, non modo quia nunquam diserte interdictum est, quemquam alium præter Deum ipsum invocare, sed etiam, et multo magis, quia ejusmodi interdictiones (ut sic loquar) nunquam cos excludunt qui ipsi Deo sunt subordinati.” — Socin. Ep. 3 ad Volk. That is, as was observed before, they exclude none at all; for all creatures whatever are subordinate to God. To say that they are subordinate as to this end, that under him they may be worshipped, is purely to beg the question. We deny that any is or may be in such a subordination to God. And the reasons the man adds of this his assertion contain the grand plea of all idolaters, heathenish and antichristian: “Whatever is given to them,” saith he, “who are in that subordination is given to God.”426426 “Quicquid enim ab eo qui subordinationem istam recte novit et mente sua illam probat, in istos confertur, in Deum ipsum confertur.” So said the Pagans of old, so say the Papists at this day; all redounds to the glory of God, when they worship stocks and stones, because he appoints them so to do. And so said the Israelites when they worshipped the golden calf: “It is a feast to Jehovah.” But if John might worship and invocate (which is the highest act of worship) the seven spirits, Rev. i. 4, because of their subordination to God, supposing them to be so many created spirits, why might he not as well worship the spirit or angel in the end of the book, chap. xxii. 8, 9, who was no less subordinate to God? Was the matter so altered during his visions, that whom he might invocate in the entrance he might not so much as worship in the close?
The Racovian Catechism takes another course, and tells you that the foundation of the worship and adoration of Christ is because “Christ had added to the first commandment that we should acknowledge him for God;”427427 “Quid præterea Dominus Jesus huic præcepto primo addidit? — Id quod etiamnum Dominum Jesum pro Deo cognoscere tenemur, id est, pro eo qui in nos potestatem habet divinam, et cui nos divinum exhibere honorem obstricti sumus.” — Cat. Rac. de præcep. Christi. that is, he who hath divine authority over us, to whom we are bound to yield divine honour. But, — 1. That Jesus Christ, who is not God by nature, did add to the command of God that he himself should be acknowledged God, is intolerable blasphemy, asserted without the least colour or pretence from the Scripture, and opens a door to downright atheism. 2. The exposition of his being God, that is, one who hath divine authority over us, is false. God is a name of nature, not of office and power, Gal. iv. 8. 3. Christ was worshipped, and commanded to be worshipped, before his coming in the flesh, Ps. ii. 12; Gen. xlviii. 16; Exod. xxiii. 21.
But if this be added to the first commandment, that Christ be worshipped as God, then is he to be worshipped with the worship required 385in the first commandment. Now, this worship is that which is proper to the only true God, as the very words of it import, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” How, then, will Smalcius reconcile himself with his master, who plainly affirms that Jesus Christ is not to be worshipped with that divine worship which is due to God alone, and strives to answer that place of John v. 23 to the contrary, that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father?”428428 “Nos paulo ante ostendimus divinum cultum, qui Christo debetur, et directe ipsum Christum respicit, non esse illum qui uni illi soli Deo convenit.” — Socin. ad Weik. Respon. ad cap. x. Class. 5, Arg. 6, pp. 422, 423. That Christ should be commanded to be worshipped in the first commandment (or by an addition made thereto), which commands us to have only one God, and not be worshipped with the worship which is due to that one God, is one of the mysteries of these men’s religion. But to proceed:—
Where the formal cause of divine worship is not, there divine worship ought not to be exhibited; but in no creature there is, nor can be, the formal cause of divine worship: therefore no creature, who is only such, can be worshipped without idolatry. The formal reason of any thing is but one; the reason of all worship is excellency or pre-eminence. The reason of divine or religious worship is divine pre-eminence and excellency. Now, divine excellency and pre-eminence is peculiar unto the divine nature. Wherein is it that God is so infinitely excellent above all creatures? Is it not from his infinitely good and incomprehensible nature? Now, look what difference there is between the essence of the Creator and the creature, the same is between their excellency. Let a creature be exalted to ever so great a height of dignity and excellency, yet his dignity is not at all nigher to the dignity and excellency of God, because there is no proportion between that which is infinite and that which is finite and limited. If, then, excellency and pre-eminence be the cause of worship, and the distance between the excellency of God and that of the most excellent and most highly-advanced creature be infinite, it is impossible that the respect and worship due to them should be of the same kind. Now, it is religious or divine adoration that is due to God, whereof the excellency of his nature is the formal cause: this, then, cannot be ascribed to any other; — and to whomsoever it is ascribed, thereby do we acknowledge to be in him all divine perfections; which, if he be not God by nature, is gross idolatry. In sum, adorability, if I may so say, is an absolute, incommunicable property of God; adoration thence arising, a respect that relates to him only.
I shall, for a close of this chapter, proceed to manifest that Christ himself is not by us worshipped under any other formal reason but as he is God; which will add some light to what hath already been spoken. 386And here, lest there should be any mistake among the meanest in a matter of so great consequence, I shall deliver my thoughts to the whole of the worship of Christ in the ensuing observations:—
1. Jesus Christ, the mediator, being Θεάνθρωπος, God and man, the Son of God having assumed τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον, Luke i. 35, “that holy thing” that was born of the Virgin, ἀνυπόστατον, having no subsistence of its own, into personal subsistence with himself, is to be worshipped with divine, religious worship, even as the Father. By “worshipped with divine worship,” I mean believed in, hoped in, trusted in, invocated as God, as an independent fountain of all good, and a sovereign disposer of all our present and everlasting concernments: by doing whereof we acknowledge in him, and ascribe to him, all divine perfections, — omnipotency, omniscience, infinite goodness, omnipresence, and the like.
This proposition was sufficiently confirmed before. In the Revelation you have the most solemn representation of the divine, spiritual worship of the church, both that militant in the earth and that triumphant in the heavens; and by both is the worship mentioned given to the Mediator: “Unto him” (to Jesus Christ) “that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen,” chap. i. 5, 6. So again, the same church, represented by four living creatures and twenty-four elders, falls down before the Lamb, chap. v. 8, 12, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing;” and, verse 13, joint worship is given to him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb by the whole creation, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever,” etc. And this also is particularly done by the church triumphant, chap. vii. 9, 10. Now, the Lamb is neither Christ in respect of the divine nature nor Christ in respect of the human nature, but it is Christ the mediator. That Christ was mediator in respect of both natures shall in due time be demonstrated. It is, then, the person of the mediator, God and man, who is the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” to whom all this honour and worship is ascribed. This the apostle perfectly confirms, Rom. xiv. 8–11, “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, 387every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” To Christ, exalted in his dominion and sovereignty, we live and die; to him do we bow the knee and confess, that is, perform all worship, and stand before him, as at his disposal; we swear by him; — as in the place from whence these words are taken.
2. That our religious, divine, and spiritual worship, hath a double or twofold respect unto Jesus Christ:429429 “Unum Deum, et unum ejus Filium, et verbum, imaginemque, quantum possumus supplicationibus, et honoribus veneremur, offerentes Deo universorum Domino preces per suum unigenitum: cui prius eas adhibemus rogantes ut ipse, qui est propitiator pro peccatis nostris, dignetur tanquam pontifex preces nostras, et sacrificia et intercessiones, offerre Deo.” — Origen. ad Celsum, lib. viii. — (1.) As he is the ultimate formal object of our worship, being God, to be blessed for evermore, as was before declared. (2.) As the way, means, and cause, of all the good we receive from God in our religious approach to him.
In the first sense, we call upon the name of Christ, 1 Cor. i. 2: in the other, we ask the Father in his name, according to his command, John xvi. 23. In the first, we respect him as one with the Father, as one who thinks it no robbery to be equal with him, Phil. ii. 6; the “fellow of the Lord of hosts,” Zech. xiii. 7: in the other, as one that doth intercede yet with the Father, Heb. vii. 25, praying him yet to send the Comforter to us, being yet, in that regard, less than the Father; and in which respect as he is our head, so God is his head, as the apostle tells us, 1 Cor. xi. 3, “The head of every man” (that is, every believer) “is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.” In this sense is he the way whereby we go to the Father, John xiv. 6; and through him we have an access to the Father, Eph. ii. 18, Διὰ Χριστοῦ πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα. In our worship, with our faith, love, hope, trust, and prayers, we have an access to God. Thus, in our approach to the throne of grace, we look upon Christ as the high priest over the house of God, Heb. iv. 14–16, by whom we have admission, who offers up our prayers and supplications for us, Rev. viii. 3. In this state, as he is the head of angels and of his whole church, so is he in subordination to the Father; and therefore he is said at the same time to receive revelations from the Father, and to send an angel as his servant on his work and employment, Rev. i. 1. And thus is he our advocate with the Father, 1 John ii. 1. In this respect, then, seeing that in our access to God, even the Father, as the Father of him and his, John xx. 17, with our worship, homage, service, our faith, love, hope, confidence, and supplications, eyeing Christ as our mediator, advocate, intercessor, upon whose account we are accepted, for whose sake we are pardoned, through whom we have admission to God, and by whom we have help and assistance in all that we have to do with God; it is evident, I say, that in this respect he is not eyed nor addressed to in our worship as the ultimate, adequate, formal object of it, but as the meritorious cause of 388our approach and acceptance, and so of great consideration therein And therefore, whereas, Rom. iii. 25, it is said that “God hath set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,” it is not intended that faith fixes on his blood or blood-shedding, or on him as shedding his blood, as the prime object of it, but as the meritorious cause of our forgiveness of sin, through the righteousness of God.
And these two distinct respects have we to Jesus Christ, our mediator, who is Θεάνθρωπος, God and man, in our religious worship, and all acts of communion with him: As one with the Father, we honour him, believe in him, worship him, as we do the Father;430430 Μιᾷ προσκυνήσει καὶ μίαν αὐτῷ τὴν δοξολογίαν ἀναπέμπων. — Synod. Eph. Anath. viii. Cyril. as mediator, depending on the Father, in subordination to him, so our faith regards him, we love him and hope in him, as the way, means, and meritorious cause, of our acceptance with the Father. And in both these respects we have distinct communion with him.
3. That Jesus Christ, our mediator, Θεάνθρωπος, God and man, who is to be worshipped with divine or religious worship, is to be so worshipped because he is our mediator. That is, his mediation is the “ratio quia,” an unconquerable reason and argument, why we ought to love him, fear him, believe in him, call upon him, and worship him in general. This is the reason still urged by the Holy Ghost why we ought to worship him: Rev. i. 5, 6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Who would not love him, who would not ascribe honour to him, who hath so loved us and washed us in his own blood So Rev. v. 12, there is an acknowledgment of the power, riches, goodness, wisdom, strength, glory, and blessing, that belong to him, because as the Lamb, as Mediator, he hath done so great things for us. And, I dare say, there is none of his redeemed ones who finds not the power of this motive upon his heart. The love of Christ in his mediation, the work he has gone through in it, and that which he continueth in, the benefits we receive thereby, and our everlasting misery without it, are all chains upon our souls to bind us to the Lord Christ in faith, love, and obedience.431431 Ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς — 2 Cor. v. 14. But yet this mediation of Christ is not the formal and fundamental cause of our worship (as shall be showed), but only a motive thereunto. It is not the “ratio formalis, et fundamentalis cultus,” but only the “ratio quia,” or an argument thereunto. Thus God dealing with his people, and exhorting them of old to worship and obedience, he says, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exod. xx. 2, 3. He makes his benefit of bringing them out of the land of 389Egypt the reason of that eternally indispensable moral worship which he requires in the first commandment: not that that was the formal cause of that worship, for God is to be worshipped as the first, sovereign, independent good, as the absolute Lord of all and fountain of all good, whether he gives any such benefits or no; but yet all his mercies, all his benefits, every thing he doth for us in his providence and in his grace, as to the things of this life or of another, are all arguments and motives to press us to the performance of all that worship and service which we owe unto him as our God and Creator. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,” saith David, Ps. ciii. 1, 2. So is it in the case of our mediator. For the work of his mediation we are eternally obliged to render all glory, honour, and thanksgiving to him; but yet his mediation is not the formal cause thereof, but only an invincible motive thereunto. Let this, therefore, be our fourth and last observation:—
4. Though Jesus Christ, who is our mediator, God and man, is to be worshipped with divine worship, even as we honour the Father, yet this is not as he is mediator, but as he is God, blessed for evermore. He is not to be worshipped under this reduplication as mediator, though he who is mediator is to be worshipped, and he is to be worshipped because he is mediator. That is, his mediatory office is not the formal cause and reason of yielding divine worship to him, nor under that consideration is that worship ultimately terminated in him. The formal reason of any thing, strictly taken, is but one, and it is that from the concession whereof that thing or effect whereof it is the cause or reason, without any other help, doth arise or result from it. Now, the formal cause or reason of all divine worship is the deity or divine nature; — that being granted, divine worship necessarily follows to be due; that being denied, that worship also is, and is to be for ever, denied. We may not worship them who by nature are not God. If it could be supposed that we might have had a mediator that should not have been God (which was impossible), religious worship would not have been yielded to him; and if the Son of God had never been our mediator, yet he was to be worshipped.
It is the deity of Christ, then, which is the fundamental, formal cause and reason, and the proper object, of our worship:432432 Γινωσκέτωσαν ὅτι τὸν κύριον ἐν σαρκὶ προσκυνοῦντες οὐ κτίσμα τι προσκυνοῦμεν ἀλλὰ τὸν κτίστην ἐνδυσάμενον τὸ κτιστὸν σῶμα. — Athan. Ep. ad Adelph. Episc. for that being granted, though we had no other reason or argument for it, yet we ought to worship him; and that being denied, all other reasons and motives whatever would not be a sufficient cause or warrant for any such proceeding.
It is true, Christ hath a power given him of his Father above all angels, principalities, and powers, called “All power in heaven and 390in earth,” Matt. xxviii. 18, and “a name above every name,” Phil. ii. 9, giving him an excellency, an ἀξία, as he is μεσίτης ἱκέτης, as he is the king and head of his church, which is to be acknowledged, owned, ascribed to him; and the consideration whereof, with his ability and willingness therein to succour, relieve, and save us to the uttermost, in a way of mediation, is a powerful, effectual motive (as was said before) to his worship: but yet this is an excellency which is distinct from that which is purely and properly divine, and so cannot be the formal reason of religious worship. Excellency is the cause of honour; every distinct excellency and eminence is the cause of honour; every distinct excellency and eminence is the cause of distinct honour and worship. Now, what excellency or dignity soever is communicated by a way of delegation is distinct and of another kind from that which is original, infinite, and communicating, and therefore cannot be the formal cause of the same honour and worship.
I shall briefly give the reasons of the assertion insisted on, and so pass on to what remains.
1. The first is taken from the nature of divine or religious worship. It is that whereby we ascribe the honour and glory of all infinite perfections to him whom we so worship, — to be the first cause, the fountain of all good, independent, infinitely wise, powerful, all-sufficient, almighty, all-seeing, omnipotent, eternal, the only rewarder; as such we submit ourselves to him religiously, in faith, love, obedience, adoration, and invocation. But now we cannot ascribe these divine excellencies and perfections unto Christ as mediator, for then his mediation should be the reason why he is all this, which it is not; but it is from his divine nature alone that so he is, and therefore thence alone is it that he is so worshipped.
2. Christ under this formal conception, as they speak, as mediator, is not God; but under this, as partaker of the nature of God. Christ as mediator is an expression, as they speak, in the concrete, whose form is its abstract. Now, that is his mediation or mediatory office; and therefore if Christ under this formal conception of a mediator be God, his mediatory office and God must be the same, which is false and absurd: therefore as such, or on that fundamental account, he is not worshipped with divine worship.
3. Christ in respect of his mediation dependeth on God, and hath all his power committed to him from God: Matt. xi. 27, “All things,” saith he, “are delivered unto me of my Father;” and chap. xxviii. 18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;” John xvii. 2, “Thou hast given him power over all flesh;” and in innumerable other places is the same testified. God gives him as mediator his name, — that is, his authority. Now, God is worshipped because he is independent: he is, and there is none besides him; he is Alpha and 391Omega, — the first and the last. And if the reason why we worship God with divine worship be because he is αὐτάρκης and independent, certainly that wherein Christ is dependent and in subordination to him, as receiving it from him, cannot be the formal cause of attributing divine worship to him.
4. Christ in respect of his divine nature is “equal with God,” that is, the Father, Phil. ii. 6; but in respect of his mediation he is not equal to him, he is less than he. “My Father,” saith he, “is greater than I,” John xiv. 28. Now, whatever is less than God, is not equal to him, is infinitely so; for between God and that which is not God there is no proportion, neither in being nor excellency. That Christ in respect of his office is not equal to God is commonly received in that axiom, whereby the arguments thence taken against his deity are answered, “Inæqualitas officii non tollit æqualitatem naturæ.” Now, certainly, that which is infinitely unequal to God cannot be the formal cause of that worship which we yield to him as God.
5. That which shall cease and is not absolutely eternal cannot be the formal cause of our worship, for the formal reason of worship can no more cease than God can cease to be God; for when that ceaseth, we cease to worship him, which while he is the Creator and sovereign Lord of his creatures cannot be. Now, that the mediatory office of Christ shall cease the Holy Ghost affirmeth, 1 Cor. xv. 24, “Then cometh the end,” etc. He then gives up his kingdom to God. And there is the same reason from the other parts of his mediatory office. It is true, indeed, the efficacy of his office abideth to eternity, whilst the redeemed ones live with God and praise him; but as to the administration of his office, that ceaseth when at the last day, the whole work of it shall be perfectly consummated, and he hath saved to the uttermost all that come to God by him.
The sum of all is: Jesus Christ, God and man, our mediator, who is to be worshipped in all things and invocated as the Father, and whom we ought night and day to honour, praise, love, and adore, because of his mediation and the office of it, which for our sakes he hath undertaken, is so to be honoured and worshipped, not as mediator, exalted of God, and intrusted with all power and dignity from him, but as being equal with him, God, to be blessed for ever, his divine nature being the fundamental, formal reason of that worship, and proper ultimate object of it. And to close up this digression, there is not any thing that more sharply and severely cuts the throat of the whole sophistical plea of the Socinians against the deity of Christ than this one observation. Themselves acknowledge that Christ is to be worshipped with religious worship, and his name to be invocated, denying to account them Christians, whatever they are, who are otherwise minded, as Franciscus David and those before 392mentioned were. Now, if there be no possible reason to be assigned as the formal cause of this worship but his deity, they must either acknowledge him to be God or deny themselves to be Christians.
Some directions, by the way, may be given from that which hath been spoken as to the guidance of our souls in the worship of God, or in our addresses to the throne of grace by Jesus Christ. What God hath discovered of himself unto us, he would have us act faith upon in all that we have to deal with him in. By this we are assured we worship the true God, and not an idol, when we worship him who has revealed himself in his word, and as he has revealed himself. Now, God hath declared himself to be three in one; for it is written, “There are three that bear record in heaven, and these three are one,” 1 John v. 7. So, then, is he to be worshipped. And not only so, but the order of the three persons in that Deity, the eternal, internal order among themselves, is revealed to us. The Father is of none, is αὔταυτος. The Son is begotten of the Father, having the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, and so is αὐτόθεος in respect of his nature, essence, and being, not in respect of his personality, which he hath of the Father. The Spirit is of the Father and the Son. He is often so called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Son. For the term of “proceeding,” or “going forth,” I profess myself ignorant whether it concern chiefly his eternal personality or his dispensation in the work of the gospel. The latter I rather like; of which this is no time to give my reasons. But be those expressions of what import soever, he is equally the Spirit of the Father and the Son, and is of them both and from them both. God, then, by us is to be worshipped as he hath revealed the subsistence of the three persons in this order, and so are we to deal with him in our approaches to him: not that we are to frame any conception in our minds of distinct substances, which are not; but by faith closing with this revelation of them, we give up our souls in contemplation and admiration of that we cannot comprehend.
2. There is an external economy and dispensation of the persons in reference to the work of our salvation, and what we draw nigh to them for. So the Father is considered as the foundation of all mercy, grace, glory, every thing that is dispensed in the covenant or revealed in the gospel, the Son receiving all from him, and the Spirit [being] sent by the Son to effect and complete the whole good pleasure of God in us and towards us. And in and under the consideration of this economy is God of us to be worshipped.
“All things,” saith Christ, “are delivered unto me of my Father,” Matt. xi. 27 (that is, to me as mediator); therefore “come unto me.” And in his prayer, John xvii. 8, “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou 393didst send me.” So most fully John iii. 34, 35. He is sent of God; and from the love of the Father to him as mediator are all things given him. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” Col. i. 19; John i. 16. John v. 26, “He hath given him to have life,” — that is, as he is mediator, appointed him to be the fountain of spiritual life to his elect. And Rev. i. 1, the revelation of the will of God is given unto Christ by the Father, as to this end of discovering it to the church.
Hence ariseth the second way of faith’s acting itself towards God in our worship of him. It eyes the Father as the fountain of this dispensation, and the Son as the mediator, as the storehouse, and the Spirit as immediate communicator thereof. Here also it considers the Son under these two distinct notions:— first, as the ordinance and servant of the Father in the great work of mediation. So it loves him, delights in him, and rejoiceth in the wisdom of God in finding out and giving such a means of life, salvation, and union with himself; and so by Christ believes in God, even the Father. It considers him, secondly, as the way of going to the Father; and there it rests, as the ultimate object of all the religious actings of the soul So we are very often said through and by Christ to believe in God, and by him to have an access to God and an entrance to the throne of grace. In this sense, I say, when we draw nigh to God in any religious worship, yea, in all the first actings and movings of our souls towards him in faith and love, the Lord Christ is considered as mediator, as clothed with his offices, as doing the will of the Father, as serving the design of his love; and so the soul is immediately fixed on God through Christ, being strengthened, supported, and sustained, by the consideration of Christ as the only procuring cause of all the good things we seek from God, and of our interest in those excellencies which are in him, which make him excellent to us.
And this is the general consideration that faith hath of Christ in all our dealings with God. We “ask in his name,” “for his sake,” go to God “on his account,” “through him,” and the like; are strengthened and emboldened upon the interest of him as our high priest and intercessor; God the Father being yet always immediately in our eye as the primary object of our worship. But yet now again, this Christ as mediator, so sent and intrusted by the Father, as above, is also one with the Father, God, to be blessed for evermore. Faith also takes in this consideration; and so he who before was the means of fixing our faith on God is thereupon become the proper object 394of our faith himself. We believe in him, invocate, call upon him, worship him, put our trust in him, and live unto him. Over and above, then, the distinction that the eternal persons have in the manner of in-being in the same essence, which also is the object of our faith, that distinction which they have in the external economy is to be considered in our religious worship of God; — and herein is Christ partly eyed as the Father’s servant, the means and cause of all our communion with God, and so is the medium of our worship, not the object; partly as God and man vested with that office, and so he is the primary and ultimate object of it also. And this may give us, I say, some assistance to order our thoughts aright towards God, and some light into that variety of expressions which we have in Scripture about worshipping of God in Christ, and worshipping of Christ also. So is it in respect of the Spirit.
Having cleared the whole matter under consideration, it may be worth the while a little to consider the condition of our adversaries in reference to this business, wherein, of all other things, as I said before, they are most entangled. Of the contests and disputes of Socinus with Franciscus David about this business, I have given the reader an account formerly, and of the little success he had therein. The man would fain have stood when he had kicked away the ground from under his feet, but was not able. And never was he more shamefully gravelled in any dispute than in that which he had with Christianus Franken about this business, whereof I shall give the reader a brief account.
This Franken seems to have been a subtile fellow, who, denying with Socinus that Christ was God, saw evidently that it was impossible to find out a foundation of yielding religious worship or adoration unto him. With him about this matter Socinus had a solemn dispute in the house of one Paulicovius, anno 1584, March 14.433433 Disputatio inter Faustum Socinum et Christianum Franken de honore Christi, id est, utrum Christus cum ipse perfectissima ratione Deus non sit religiosa tamen adoratione colendus sit, Habita, 14 Martii, anno 1584, in aula Christophori Paulicovii. Franken in this disputation was the opponent, and his first argument is this: “Look how great distance there is between the Creator and the creature, so great ought the difference to be between the honour that is exhibited to the one and the other. But between the Creator and the creature there is the greatest difference, whether you respect nature and essence, or dignity and excellency; and therefore there ought to be the greatest difference between the honour of the Creator and the creature. But the honour that chiefly is due to God is religious worship; therefore this is not to be given to a creature, therefore not to Christ, whom you confess to be a mere creature.”434434 “Quanta distantia inter Creatorem eat et creaturam, tanta esse debet differentia inter honorem qui Creatori exhibetur et qui creaturæ tribuitur. Atqui inter Creatorem et creaturam maxima est distantia, sive essentiam et naturam spectes, sive dignitatem et excellentiam, ergo et maxima esse debet differentia inter honorem Dei et creaturæ. At honour qui præcipue debetur Deo est religiosa adoratio; ergo hæc non est tribuenda creaturæ, ergo neque Christo, quem tu puram esse creaturam fateris.” — De Adorat. Christi, Disput. cum Christoph. Fran., p. 4. This, I say, was his first argument. To which Socinus 395answers: “Although the difference between God and the creature be the greatest, yet it doth not follow that the difference between their honour must be so; for God can communicate his honour to whom he will, especially to Christ, who is worthy of such honour, and who is not commanded to be worshipped without weighty causes for it.”435435 “Etsi summa est inter Deum et creaturam distantia, non tamen necesse est, tantam esse differentiam inter honorem Dei et creaturæ; nam potest Deus cui vult communicare honorem suum, Christo prsesertim, qui dignus est tali honore, quique non sine gravissimis causis adorari jubetur in sacris literis.” — Disput. de Adorat. Christi, p. 6.
But, by the favour of this disputant, God cannot give that honour that is due unto him upon the account of his excellency and eminency, as he is the first cause of all things and the last end (which is the ground of divine worship), to any one who hath not his nature. The honour due to God cannot be given to him who is not God. His honour, the honour of him as God, is that which is due to him as God. Now, that he should give that honour that is due to him as God to him which is not God, is utterly impossible and contradictory to itself. We confess that there be most weighty causes why Christ should be worshipped, yet but one formal reason of that worship we can acknowledge; and therefore when Franken had taken off this absurd answer by sundry instances and reasons, Socinus is driven to miserable evasions. First, he cries out, “I can answer all these testimonies;”436436 “Ad illa omnia testimonia ego possum respondere.” — P. 7. to which when the other replied, “And I can give a probable answer to all the texts you produce arguing the adoration of Christ,”437437 “Et ego ad omnes tuos locos, Christi adorationem urgentes, probabilem potero responsionem affere.” — P. 8. being driven to hard shifts, he adds, “I am as certain of the truth of my opinion as I am that I hold this hat in my hand,”438438 “De veritate meæ sententiæ tam sum certus, quam certo scio me istum pileum manibus tenere.” — P. 9. — which is a way of arguing that is commonly used by men that have nothing else to say. Wherefore Franken laughs at him, and tells him, “Your certainty cannot be a rule of truth to me and others, seeing another man may be found that will say he is most certain to the contrary opinion.”439439 “Tua ista certitudo non potest et mihi et aliis esse veritatis regula, nam reperietur alius quispiam, qui dicat, sententiam tuæ contrariam ex sacris libris sibi esse persuasissimam.” So that, prevailing nothing by this means, he is forced to turn the tables; and instead of an answer, which he could not give to Franken’s argument, to become opponent and urge an argument against him. Saith he, “My certainty of this thing is as true as it is true that the apostle saith of Christ, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him.’ ”440440 “Tam vera est hac de re mea certitudo, quam verum est apostolum de Christodixisse, Adorent eum omnes angeli.” — P. 10. But, by the favour of this disputant, this is not his business. He was to answer Franken’s argument, 396whereby he proved that he was not to be worshipped, and not to have brought a contrary testimony, which is certainly to be interpreted according to the issue of the reason insisted on. And this was the end of that first argument between them.
The next argument of Franken, whereby he brought his adversary to another absurdity, had its rise from a distinction given by Socinus about a twofold religious worship; — one kind whereof, without any medium, was directed to God; the other is yielded him by Christ as a means. The first he says is proper to God, the other belongs to Christ only.441441 “Duplex est adoratio, altera quidem quæ sine ullo medio dirigitur in Deum: altera vero per medium Christum defertur ad Deum; illa adoratio est soli Deo propria, hæc vero convenit Christo tantum.” — Disput. de Adorat. Christi, p. 11. Now, he is blind that doth not see that, for what he doth here to save himself, he doth but beg the thing in question. Who granted him that there was a twofold religious worship, — one of this sort, and another of that? Is it a sufficient answer, for a man to repeat his own hypothesis to answer an argument lying directly against it? He grants, indeed, upon the matter all that Franken desired, — namely, that Christ was not to be worshipped with that worship wherewith God is worshipped, and consequently not with divine. But Franken asks him whether this twofold worship was of the same kind or no?442442 “Estne utraque adoratio ista ejusdem speciei?” — P. 11. to which he answered, that it was because it abode not in Christ, but through him passed to God.443443 “Est, quia adoratio Christi est ipsius Dei, quippe quæ in Christo non conquiescat, sed per eum transeat in Deum.” — P. 12. Upon which, after the interposition of another entangling question, the man thus replies unto him: “This, then, will follow, that even the image of Christ is to be worshipped, because one and the same worship respects the image as the means, Christ as the end, as Thomas Aquinas tells us, from whom you borrowed your figment.”444444 “Hoc sequetur, quod ipsius etiam Christi imago sit adoranda, quia una et eadem adoratio respicit in imaginem, tanquam medium, in Christum tanquam finem, quemadmodum Thomas Aquinas docet, a quo tuum tu commentum es mutuatus.” — P. 13. Yet this very fancy Socinus seems afterward to illustrate, by taking a book in his hand, sliding it along upon a table, showing how it passed by some hands where truly it was, but stayed not till it came to the end: for which gross allusion he was sufficiently derided by his adversary I shall not insist on the other arguments wherewith on his own hypothesis he was miserably gravelled by this Franken, and after all his pretence of reason forced to cry out, “These are philosophical arguments, and contrary to the gospel.” The disputation is extant, with the notes of Socinus upon it, for his own vindication; which do not indeed one whir mend the matter. And of this matter thus far.
|« Prev||Chapter XIX. Of the kingly office of Jesus…||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version