« AnteriorContinuar »
lated substance, or subsistence, or person, can be nothing else but that most perfect essence by which God subsists by himself, in himself, and through himself. For neither substance nor subsistence make any addition to what is already a most perfect essence; and the word person in its later acceptation signifies any individual thing gifted with intelligence, while hypostasis denotes not the ens itself, but the essence of the ens in the abstract. Hypostasis, therefore, is clearly the same as essence, and thus many of the Latin commentators * render it in the passage already quoted. Therefore, as God is a most simple essence, so is he also a most simple subsistence.
III. Immensity and Infinity.t 1 Kings viii. 27. the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.' Job xi. 8. it is as high as heaven ...... deeper than hell.' xxxvi. 26. • God is great, and we know him not.'
IV. Eternity. It is universally acknowledged that nothing is eternal, strictly speaking, but what has neither beginning nor end, both which properties are attributed to God, not indeed in each of the fol
Imago essentiæ ejus. Tremellius.
+ Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Paradise Lost, III. 372. Another expression of great beauty is used in Samson Agonistes to denote the same attribute :
As if they would confine the Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript. 307. # The disputes among the schoolmen respecting the proper definition of eternity could not bave been forgotten by Milton. It appears therefore that at this time the famous definition of Boëthius was generally rejected—aler. nilas est interminabilis rite tola simul el perfecta possessio. According to these terms God would not necessarily have been without a beginning.
lowing passages separately, but as a plain deduction from the several texts when compared together. Job xxxvi. 26. neither can the number of his years be searched out.' Gen. xxi. 33. the everlasting God,? literally, the God of old time or ages. Psal. xc. 2. “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, or from age to age.' cii. 12. but thou, O Jehovah, shalt endure for ever.' v. 24. thy years are through all generations.' v. 27. but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.' Psal. cxlv. 13. thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Isai. xliii. 10. before me there was no God formed, neither sball there be after me.' xliv. 6. 'I am the first, and I am the last.' Habak. i. 12. 6 art thou not from everlasting,' literally from old time.'
The evidence of the New Testament is still clearer, because the Greek word signifies to exist for ever. * Rom. vi. 26. « according to the commandinent of the everlasting God.' 1 Tim. i. 17. unto the King eternal.' Rev. i. 4. · from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.'
But all the words used in Scripture to denote eternity, often signify only of old time, or antiquity. Gen. vi. 4. mighty men which were of old.' Job xx. 4. • knowest thou not this of old, or from eternity, since man was placed upon earth?' Isai. xlii. 14. "I have long time holden my peace.' David also seems to have understood that the term for ever only intimated a great while to come. 2 Sam. vi. 13. I
"Sic etiam Deus dicitur qui est, qui erat, et qui futurus est, Apoc. i. 8. et iv. S. Deo tamen ævum sive æternitas, non tempus, attribui solet : quid autem est ærum proprie, nisi duratio perpetua, Grace, aiwy, quasi ásì , semper existens.' Arlis Logicæ plenior Institutio, &c. Prose Works, VI. 224.
will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever,' compared with v. 19. thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come.' See also 1 Chron. xvii. 12, 14, 17. John ix. 32. since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.' Acts iii. 21. • which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.' 2 Tim. i. 9. and Tit. i. 2. before the world began :' and in Heb. xi. 3. the word is also used to signify this world, where the Syriac version translates it,- before the worlds were framed.'. From these and
many similar texts it appears that the idea of eternity, properly so called, is conveyed in the Hebrew language rather by comparison and deduction than in
V. The Immutability of God has an immediate connection with the last attribute. Psal. cii. 27. - but thou art the same.' Mal. iii. 6. I am Jehovah, I change not. James i. 17. with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.'
VI. His Incorruptibility is also derived from the fourth attribute. Psal. cii. 26. thou shalt endure.' Rom. i. 23. the uncorruptible God. 1 Tim. i. 17. ' unto the King immortal.'*
VII. The next attribute of God, his Omnipresence, arises from his infinity. Psal. cxxxix. 8, 9. if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there,' &c. &c. Prov. xv. 3. “the eyes of Jehovah are in every place.' Jer. xxiii. 24. do not I fill heaven and earth?' Eph. iv. 6. • who is above ail, and through
épdagra incorruptibili. Tremellius. qui non corrumpitur. Beza.
all, and in you all. Our thoughts of the omnipresence of God, whatever may be the nature of the attribute, should be such as appear most suitable to the reverence due to the Deity.
VII. Omnipotence. 2 Chron. xx. 6. in thine hand is there not power and might?' Job xlii. 2. •I know that thou canst do every thing.' Psal. xxxiii. 9. “ he spake, and it was done.' cxv. 3. he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.' See also cxxxv. 6. Matt. xix. 26. “with God all things are possible.' Luke i. 37. with God nothing shall be impossible. Hence the name of El Shaddai, applied to the Deity, Gen. xvii. 1. I am the Almighty* God,' literally • sufficient.' Ruth i. 21. the Almighty hath afflicted me.' Jer: xxxii. 18. the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of Hosts.' Gen. xiv. 22. “Jehovah, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.” Thus also the name '978 frequently occurs. In the New Testament, 'the Lord Almighty,' 2 Cor. vi. 18, and Rev. i. 8. the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,' i. Tim. vi. 15. therefore, an impropriety in the term of actus purus, or the active principle, which Aristotlet applies to God, for thus the Deity would have no choice of act, but what he did he would do of necessity, and could do in no other way, which would be inconsistent with his omnipotence and free agency. But it must be observed, that the power of God is not exerted in things which imply a contradiction.I 2 Tim. ii. 13.
* Forlis omnipotens. Tremellius. Shaddai. Hebr. qui sum sufficiens.
+ See Aristot. Metaph. lib. 1. cap. ix. &c. lib. 14. cap. vi. Cud. worth's Intellectual System, Vol. II. p. 322. Birch's Edit.
Can he make deathless death? That were to make
• he cannot deny himself.' Tit. i. 2. • God, that cannot lie.' Heb. vi. 18. in which it was impossible for God to lie.?
IX. All the preceding attributes may be regarded as necessary causes of the ninth attribute, the Unity of God; of which, however, other proofs are not wanting. Deut. iv. 35. Jehovah he is God, there is none also beside him.' v. 39. Jehovah he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath : there is none else. vi. 4. 'hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.' xxxii. 39. ' I, even I, am he, and there is no God with me.' 1 Kings viii. 60. “that all the people of the earth may know that Jehovah is God, and that there is none else. 2 Kings xix. 15. " thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.' Isai. xliv. 6. • beside me there is no God.' v. 8. • is there a God beside me ? yea, there is no God ; I know not any. xlv. 5. “I am Jehovah, and there is none else ; there is no God beside me.' v. 21. there is no God else beside me .....there is none beside me.' v. 22. I am God, and there is none else'—that is, no spirit, no person, no being beside him is God; for none is an universal negative. xlvi. 9. “I am God, and there is none else : I am God, and there is none like me.'
What can be plainer, what more distinct, what mcre suitable to general comprehension and the ordinary forms of speech, in order that the people of God might under
Impossible is held; as argument
Paradise Lost, X. 798. •Cum autem dico potentiæ Dei objectum omne esse possibile, per possibile intelligo illud quod non implicat contradictionem ut fiat. Nam quod contradictionem implicat, ne Deus quidem ipse potest.' Curcellæi Institutio II. 2.