The first and great Objection of the Socini∣ans, from this place, against the Divinity of Christ, and the Doctrine of the Trinity, is this If the Father be the onely true God; then the Son, or Holy-Ghost, is not God, or not the True God; but the Father onely.
To which I shall give Three things in Answer.
1. This Argument is a plain Fallacy; which they put upon us, by a willful perverting the Order of the Words. For it is not said Thee Onely to be the True God, (as if not the Son al∣so, or the Holy-Ghost, were the True God, but the Father onely:) But, to Know Thee (not Thee onely, or Onely Thee,) to be the Onely true God. Nor is it so in our Englis• Translation onely; but in the Original Greek: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. It is not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Where the Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 coming after 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and before 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth deter∣mine Page 34 the Restrictive 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to be applied to the Subject〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but to the Predicate,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Just as, in our English, the Article The, coming between Thee and Onely, doth con∣fine the word Onely, not to Thee (that went before,) but to True God, which follows. To know Thee (not onely Thee,) the onely true God. That is, to know Thee to be that God, beside which God, there is no other true God. Which we readily Acknowledge, and Profess.
And then the Socinians Argument will ap∣pear just in this Form: The God of Abraham is the Onely true God; And therefore not the God of Isaac, nor the God of Jacob. Yes, say I; the God of Isaac is the same God with the God of Abraham; And therefore the True God as he is. And the God of Jacob, likewise.
And this one Answer doth fully satisfy the Objection, and there needs no more. Yet I shall add Two other things (though they might here be spared) because they may be of use elsewhere.
2. I say further: If it had been said (as it is not) Thee Onely; yet even this would not exclude any who is the same with Him. And therefore, not the Son, nor the Holy-Ghost; since they are One and the same God with Him. (I Page 35 and the Father are One, Joh. 10.30. These Three are One, 1 Joh. 5.7.)
To which purpose, consider we what we have Jer. 16.14, 15. and again Jer. 23.7, 8. Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the North, or out of the North Country. Now we are told by God himself, Exod. 20.2, 3. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, — Thou shalt have no other God but ME. Shall we therefore argue thus; The God who brought Israel out of Egypt, is the onely true God; and we must have no other God but HIM. Therefore, not him who brought Israel out of the North-Country? Yes, say I, Him also. For the God who brought them out of the North-Country, is the same God, with him who brought them out of Egypt, (not another God, though designed by another Chara∣cter,) and therefore, in having Him, we have not another God. So here; To Know thee onely (if it had been so said, as it is not;) it had implied no more but thus, Not any who is not the same God with Thee. To Know Thee Onely (and not any other, who is not the same God with Page 36 Thee) to be the true God. Which therefore would not exclude the Son nor Holy Ghost, who are the same God with the Father. But of this Answer, there is no need in this place, be∣cause it is not said Thee Onely, or onely Thee.
3. I say further; If it had been said (as it is not) Thee Onely, (as the Socinians would have it to be understood;) I would then say, This were an Essential Predication, rather than a Personal. That is, That the Predicate True God, is affirmed of him in regard of his Es∣sence, rather than of his Personality. As belong∣ing to the Essence, which is common to the Three Persons, not as peculiar to the Person of the Father. Like as if it were said, David the King of Israel, or David the Father of Solomon, is a Reasonable Creature, or endued with Reason; this being endued with Reason, doth not belong to him as King of Israel, nor as Father of Solomon; but, as he is a Man (though denominated by these Relations,) and is equivalent to this, The Man (who is Father of Solomon, and King of Israel) is endued with Reason. So if it be said, that David King of Israel, and He onely, was Father of Solomon: it is not intended, that he was so as King of Israel (much less, in that capacity Onely,) but rather, as the Man who Page 37begot him; though designed by that Chara∣cter. So here; God the Creator is the Onely True God: and God the Redeemer likewise; (Thus saith the Lord thy Redeémer the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of Hosts, I am the First and I am the Last, and beside ME there is no God, Isa. 41.14. Isa. 44.6. applyed to Christ, Rev. 1.8, 17. Rev. 22.13, 16.) Shall we therefore argue, That God the Redeémer is the Onely True God, and beside Him there is no God, therefore not God the Creator? No, we must not so ar∣gue. For it is not as Redeemer, or as Creator, that he is the Onely True God, but as God. (It may be praedicatio〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.) For he was the Onely True God from all Eternity; but it was in Time that he made the World, and was the Redeemer of Mankind.
And this both the Arian, and the Socinian, must needs acknowledge as to the place be∣fore us. For when Christ saith, To know Thee (Father) the Onely True God; it cannot (accord∣ing to their Principles) be said of him as Fa∣ther of our Lord Jesus Christ, but as God. For if Christ be onely a Titular God, or a Creature-God, (as they would have it,) there was a time, or moment, when he was not, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,) and therefore, when God was not his Fa∣ther.Page 38 But he was the Onely True God from all Eternity; and therefore must be here so called, not as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but as God. Not according to his Personality, but ac∣cording to his Essence; which, we say, is com∣mon to the Three Persons: Who are the same God, though under different Denominations.
But these two latter Answers, (though they be True and Solid,) are not necessary to this place; because it is not said Thee Onely. Yet I here name them, because they may be of use to answer some like Objection raised from some other place.
The full import of the words, is this, That the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that God, beside which God, there is no other True God. Or, There is no other True God, beside that God, which is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this we do fully agree with, when we say, That the Son and the Holy-Ghost, are not another God, but the same True God with the Father.