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divine nature, if he had any such, and also the Holy Ghost, if considered to be a person, as his human nature. It being impossible therefore to impute to him, or to the apostle, any such double dealing in either of the three texts in question, why should he, without any proof or presumption, be supposed to have practised it upon other occasions where his words are clear and manifest, and there is no allusion whatever to any second nature? as in John xiv. 28, "If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I;" and the like. If the Trinitarian, misled by an ardent though honest zeal for his system, which cannot stand without adopting this interpretation, objectionable as it is in itself, and destitute as it is of all authority, can make. up his mind to embrace it, he must excuse the Unitarian, who, in the equallyhonest exercise of his judgment, has arrived at the opposite conclusion, from following his example.
In answer to my quotation from John xvii. 11, to shew that our Lord did not intend to assert any unity of nature with the Father, because he prayed that his disciples might be one, as he and his father were; you take it for granted I shall admit, that this expression in many places means not equality, but humble imitation of a grand model. I admit most readily, that it does not any where mean equality with God; but I am not aware of any places where it is used to denote humble imitation of a grand model, though possibly there may be such. The text you cite, "Be ye
perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect," appears to me to be not at all in point; for when we exhort one person to be perfect, as another is perfect, whether the latter be understood to be God or man, we obviously mean, that the former is inferior to, and less perfect than, the latter: but when we desire that A may be one with B, the only object of our wish is, that he may unite with, or join him; and there is nothing in the expression itself indicative either of equality, or inferiority; for one person may join, or unite with, another person who is his equal, for the accomplishment of some great purpose, which they both have in view, as he may with another who is his superior, for the like purpose; for which reason, if there be nothing else to shew, that one of them is superior to the other, the expression of itself proves nothing. But if we concede for a moment that it means an humble imitation of a grand model, applying your own standard in both instances, it will follow, that Christ's being one with his Father implied his humble imitation of the Father as his grand model; and consequently his inferiority to the model he proposed to himself for his imitation, and that he prayed that his disciples, who were inferior to him, might imitate him as theirs, in like manner.
If to the eleventh verse, which I quoted before, you will have the goodness to add the twentieth, twentyfirst, and twenty-second verses of the same chapter, they will still more strongly illustrate the nature of
Christ's union with the Father. In these verses our Lord prays, that not only his immediate followers, but that all who might be converted by their means, might be one that as his Father was in him, and he in his Father, they also might he one in his Father, and himself; and for this purpose, that the world might believe, that the Father had sent him, that is, might believe his Gospel; meaning, (as it appears to me,) that all should be one, or united, in publishing the joyful tidings of the Gospel to the world. Then he says, that the very same glory which the Father had given him, (meaning, I conceive, the glory of preaching and spreading the Gospel, or the good tidings of the Father's gracious designs towards mankind,) that very same glory he had delegated to them; that they might be one; that is, united in this great work, as he and his Father were one, or united in the same work; for it is the very same union that is ascribed to both. From the whole taken together, the meaning seems to me to shine forth with unclouded lustre, and to be hardly capable of being mistaken.
I cannot discover in the Scriptures any proof of an union between the Father and the Son, which springs (as you term it) from identity of substance; and you have not cited any authorities for this kind of union. To the best of my remembrance, there is not in the whole compass of the sacred writings, any thing like identity of substance between them, asserted or alluded to. This notion came into the Church, I believe,
from another source. You will find plentiful mention of it in the writings of the Greek, and Latin fathers, and in the creeds which were fabricated by them, and their brethren. It would not have been omitted in the Scriptures, if the inspired writers of those documents had known any thing about it.
I am still of opinion, that the eighteenth verse of the chapter of St. John which I have last quoted, means, that Christ was sent into the world by his Father, as the disciples were sent into the world by him, Such is the plain meaning of the words, without alteration or addition; and the interpretation you have put upon them appears to me to be totally inadmissible; for I can by no means agree with you, that mere resemblance in some points was meant, but that in the most material thing of all, no resemblance whatever was intended; but on the contrary an essential difference, namely, that Christ was sent from another world; which without proof, and in the teeth of the direct and natural import of the words, I cannot, with any colour of sound criticism, any more credit than that his disciples were, the very same words being equally applied to both. To make them speak a different language, you have been obliged to add many words to them by way of explanation, stating, that they (the disciples) were sent out into the world on a mission of benevolence, as Christ was sent into this world from another; thus making the whole resemblance to consist in the addition you have made,
of their both being sent on a mission of benevolence, and inferring a difference where none was intended, founded upon similar additions, namely, that the former were sent out into the world; whereas Christ, you add, was sent into this world from another. But, my dear Sir, you will acknowledge that this is mere assertion, and cannot safely be received without proof; that by taking similar liberties with any author, we may make him speak whatever sentiments we please: but they will, after all, be our doctrines, and not his. According to the words of our Saviour, who states his position with great simplicity and clearness, both were sent into the world; and as his Father sent him into the world, so he sent his disciples into the world. Nothing can be more plain, and the difficulty is to raise any doubt at all upon their construction in this respect.
If it be asked, what is meant by the world,' into which both were sent, it will not be necessary to go far, to prove that the men of that age, and country, were intended to be denoted by it, and not the material world, which they occupied but a very small part of. This also, according to every day's practice, is the common interpretation that every one, learned and unlearned, puts upon similar expressions, when used in common conversation. But to shew it from the Scriptures themselves, I shall refer to the twentyfifth verse of this very chapter, where our Saviour says, "Holy Father, the world hath not known thee :" See also John vii. 4, where it is said, "If thou do