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united more nearly to him than the Father, surely he would have owned his power to be from that Word or divine Son.
How comes he to ascribe nothing to that, since it is supposed to be equal in power to the Father himself, and more nearly allied to Jesus Christ, as the operating principle in him? “My Father in me does the works;" John xiv. 10, by which it is evident there was no divine agent in and with him, but the Father; he only has all power of himself, and needs no assist
Secondly; another infinite perfection, that must needs be in the Deity, is supreme absolute goodness. All nations have consented to this, by the light of nature; that T' üyobov, and optimus maximus, are the prime characters of the Supreme ; as the orator says, he is one, quo nec melius, nec majus concipi potest ; the fullest, and highest of all that are called good; for indeed all other good is derived from him.
Now the Lord Jesus expressly disclaims this character. “ Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God;” Matt. xix. 17, where it is most evident that he distinguishes himself from God, as not the same with him, and denies of himself what he affirms of God;* and as to that divine perfection of supreme infinite goodness, he challenges the man for presuming to say what seemed to attribute
* Iren. l. i. c. 20. Orig. Com. in locum.
it to him, and leads him off to another, who and who only was more eminently so.
It is astonishing to see what violence is offered to the sacred text, by such as maintain the equality of Jesus Christ to God his Father. What a strange fetch is it, to suppose our Lord's meaning to be this? “ I know, man, thou dost not take me for God, as I am; why then dost thou give me the title belonging to him only ?” when there is not one word in the context looking this way; for Christ never challenges the poor man with this, that he thought too meanly of him, as they suppose, but quite contrary, that he thought or spake too highly of him. And verily if the man's error lay in this, that he thought too meanly of Christ, whilst his words otherwise were justly enough applied to him ; I cannot think our Lord would have rebuked him in that manner; for instead of keeping him still to the right object, and rectifying his apprehensions about it, which only were wrong, he seems clearly to carry him off to another from himself, as not the right object, without rectifying his thoughts of Christ at all. And to what end could Christ reprove him in such a way, as never tells him what was his fault, but rather tempts him to run into another, and leads him out of the way?
It should seem rather, if any such notion had been then conceived by any, that the man did think him to be God; for if he thought him to be the supreme good, that was to make him God in his eye; and if he did
not intend so much, but only meant it of an inferior good, how could Christ rebuke him for it, since that was no fault or error ? And truly they, who say Christ's receiving worship when on earth proves his deity, can hardly give an account why the man should give, or Christ receive worship from him, as he did, Mark x. 17, if he did not take him for God. However, whatsoever the man thought, he says what Jesus Christ thought was only proper to be said of God, and too much to be said of himself, as the obvious sense of his words declares.
And let me add, that if our Lord Jesus had on purpose left the matter disguised, not willing to discover who he was then ; yet it is strange that the Evangelists, who many years after relate the matter, when it was necessary to have it believed that Christ was supreme God, as it is pretended; that they, I say, should not unriddle the matter, by inserting some cautious clause, as that this he said to prove him, or because he knew he denied his Godhead, or the like; for sometimes on less occasions they enter such cautions, John vi. 6. xxi. 23. And yet though three of the Evangelists relate this discourse, they all do it the same way, and not one of them says a tittle to direct us to this secret way of interpretation, but leaves us to the hazard of a most fatal mistake, even recommended to us by his history, if Jesus Christ were indeed the supreme Good in as high a sense as God his Father, which he
so apparently here denies, and by that denies himself to be the most high God.
Thirdly; I will only add one perfection more, viz. absolute Omniscience, or unlimited knowledge of all things, past, present, and to come, Ps. cxlvii. 5. “His understanding is infinite.” So Isa. xli. 23. Acts xv. 18. “Known to God are all his works from the beginning."
Now, it is plain our Lord Jesus Christ had not this infinite knowledge, particularly not of future things, such as the day of judgment. Mark xiii. 32, he says, “Of that day knows no man, no, not the Angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Here the Son professes his knowledge to be limited, and inferior to the Father's, that is, the Son of the Father, or Son of God; the Son as above angels in knowledge, the Son in the most eminent sense.* Now how is it possible the Son can be God infinite, and yet have but a finite understanding? Or can he be equal in knowledge to the Father, and yet not know as much as the Father ? And be sure if he was not an infinite God, when on earth, he cannot be such afterwards. Thus we have seen Christ himself, with his own mouth disclaiming infinite original power, goodness, and knowledge to belong to him, but he attributes them to his Father only as another, distinct from himself, from whom he derived of each in a dependent limited manner.
The Weakness and Absurdity of the Common Eva
sion from the Distinction of two Natures. What can be said against these plain arguments ? I imagine our opposers have but one shift left for the evading them, and that is a distinction, which serves them in all cases ; for they say, Jesus Christ speaks these things of himself, as man only, while he had another nature as God, which he reserved, and excepted out of the case. So that when he says, I cannot do thus myself, or I am not to be called the chief good, or do not know this, &c. according to them, the meaning is, I have not these perfections in my human nature ; but yet I know and can do all unassisted, and am the chief good in my divine nature, which also is more properly myself. The vanity of which subterfuge I intend now to lay open, by shewing how absurdly this distinction of the two natures is pretended, to take off the force of such expressions from Christ's own mouth, which in their natural and undisguised appearance do proclaim his inferiority to God, even the Father. And I shall dwell the more upon this, because it is the most popular and common evasion, and comes in at every turn, when all other relief fails.
It would be no unreasonable demand to ask, what intimation of
such distinction of two natures they can point us to, in any of these discourses of Christ ? Why should men devise or imagine for him such a strange, and seemingly deceitful way of speaking from