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ON THE SUBORDINATION OF THE SON, &c.
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF DR. WHITBY, WITH A CATALOGUE
OF HIS WORKS.
31, st. SWITHIN'S LANE;
7, FARRINGDON STREET.
It is rightly and truly observed by Justin Martyr,* in the beginning of his Exhortation to the Greeks, " That an exact scrutiny into things doth often produce conviction ; that those things which we once judged to be right, are, after a more diligent inquiry into truth, found to be far otherwise.”
And, truly, I am not ashamed to say this is my very case; for when I wrote my Commentaries on the New Testament, I went on (too hastily, I own) in the common beaten road of other reputed orthodox divines; conceiving, first, that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in one complex notion, were one and the same God, by virtue of the same individual essence communicated from the Father. This confused notion, I am now fully convinced, by the arguments I have offered here, and in the second part of my Reply to Dr. Waterland, to be a thing impossible, and full of gross absurdities and contradictions; and then, as a natural consequence from this doctrine, I (secondly) concluded, that those Divine Persons differed only èv spóreas imáp&ews, in the manner of their existence. And yet what that can signify in the Son, according to this doctrine, it will not, I think, be very easy intelligibly to declare.
That the difference can be only modal, even Dr. South hath fully demonstrated ; and that this was the opinion generally received from the fourth century, may be seen in the close of my first part to Dr. Waterland. And yet the Right Rev. Bishop Bullt positively affirms, that this is rank Sabellianism, in these words: “ A person cannot be conceived without essence, unless you make a person in divine matters to be nothing else but a mere mode of existence, which is manifest Sabellianism.” And the judicious Dr. Cudworth | tells us, “ that the orthodox, anti-arian fathers did all of them zealously condemn Sabellianism, the doctrine whereof is no other but this—that there
• Orat. Cohort. ad Græcos, p. 1.
† Addo ego, personam sine essentiâ concipi non posse, nisi statueris personam in divinis nihil aliud esse quam merum tpótoy Útépgews, quod plane Sabellianum. Lib. iv. p. 439.
Cud. System, Chap. iv. p. 605.