Of the Divinity of Christ

The doctrine concerning the only begotten Son of God is the foundation of our salvation, and has been variously corrupted and opposed by heretics, in different periods of the church. It is important, therefore, that we should here more fully explain and establish this doctrine. There are four things which are especially to be considered in relation to the Divinity of Christ, the Son of God:

I. Whether Christ, beside his soul and body, is, and has been a subsistent or person:
II. Whether he is a person distinct from the Father and the Holy Ghost:
III. Whether he be equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost:
IV. Whether he be con-substantial, that is, of one and the same substance with both.

There are, therefore, just as many principal propositions to be demonstrated against different heretics:

1. That Christ, born of the Virgin, besides his soul and body, is a person.
2. That he is a person, distinct from the Father and the Holy Ghost.
3. That he is equal to both.
4. That he is of one and the same essence, or con-substantial.

There are two ways of collecting arguments out of the Scriptures, in favor of the Divinity of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The one is when the arguments are gathered according to the order of the books of the Bible; this is the most laborious and lengthy method. The other, which is the shortest and easiest mode, because it assists the memory, and therefore the one which we shall follow, is, according to certain classes or sorts of arguments, under which those testimonies of scripture that properly belong to them are arranged.

I. The Son of God, The Word, IS, and has been a subsistent, or person before, and beside the Flesh which He assumed.

This proposition is to be proven against ancient and modern heretics, as Ebion, Cerinthus, Samosatenus, Photinus, Servetus, and others. The different classes of arguments by which we prove the hypostasis, or personal existence of the Word, before and besides the flesh which he assumed, may be reduced to eight or nine:

1.To the first class belong those passages of Scripture which expressly teach and distinguish two natures in Christ, and which affirm of the Word that he was made man, was manifested in the flesh, assumed our nature, &c., as, "The Word was made of flesh.” “He took of him the seed of Abraham.” “God was manifested in the flesh.” “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God.” “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” “To this end was I born, and for this came I into the world.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” “Before Abraham was I am.” (John 1:14, Heb. 2:16, I Tim. 3:16, 1 John 4:3, John 8:13, 18:37, Heb. 2:14, John 8:58) There is, therefore, one nature which appeared in the flesh, assumed our nature, descended from heaven, and came into the world, was made a partaker of flesh and blood, and was before Abraham. And there is also another nature which was assumed, in which he came and in which he appeared; for assuming and being assumed are not the same. Therefore, inasmuch as the Word assumed human nature, he must of necessity be different from it, and must have had an existence before that which he took upon him, and into which he was not changed, but has a subsistence or hypostasis different and distinct from the flesh which he assumed. The argument is after this sort: He that assumes, is before that which is assumed. The Word, or Son, is said to have taken upon him our nature, and to have been made flesh. Therefore, he was before that which he assumed.

All those testimonies of the word of God, which distinguish the Word, who assumed our nature from that which he took upon himself, are here in point: “Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, but declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness.” “Of whom as concerning the- flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore.” “Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (Rom. 1:3, 4;9:5. 1 Pet. 3:18.) Therefore, there is something in Christ which is not of the seed of David, and of the fathers, and which was not put to death. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19.) Therefore, there is in Christ one nature which is destroyed, and another which raises up that which is destroyed, viz., the Word, who is called by John "the only begotten Son.” (John 1:18.)