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ture, and properties, of God. Of his goodness, wisdom, power, truth, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy, independency, sovereignty, infiniteness, men had before been informed, by books, tracts, and catechisms, composed according to the fancies and interests of men, the Scripture being utterly justled out of the way. Alas! of these things the Scriptures speaks not at all; but the description wherein that abounds of God, and which is necessary that men should know (whatever become of those other inconsiderable things, wherewith other poor catechisms are stuffed) is, that he is finite, limited, and obnoxious to passions, &c. Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacriledge?'
Of the creation and condition of man, before and after the fall.
MR. BIDDLE'S THIRD CHAPTER. •Q. WERE the heaven and earth from all eternity, or created at a certain time? And by whom?
•A. Gen. i. 1.
Q. What doth Moses infer from her being made a woman, and brought unto the man?
A. Gen. ii. 24.
.Q. What commandment gave he to the man, when he put him into the garden?
.A. Gen. ii. 16, 17.
Q. Was the man deceived to eat of the forbidden fruit? * A. 1 Tim. ii. 14. • Q. By whom was the woman deceived ? A. 2 Cor. xi. 3.
'Q. How was the woman induced to eat of the forbidden fruit? And how the man ?
• A. Gen. iii. 6.
•Q. Did the sin of our first parents in eating of the forbidden fruit, bring both upon them and their posterity the guilt of hell-fire, deface the image of God in them, darken their understanding, enslave their will, deprive them of power to do good, and cause mortality? If not, what are the true penalties that God denounced against them for the said offence? • A. Gen. iii. 16_-19.'
EXAMINATION.. Having delivered his thoughts concerning God himself, his nature and properties, in the foregoing chapters; in this our catechist proceeds to the consideration of his works, ascribing to God the creation of all things, especially insisting on the making of man. Now although many questions might be proposed, from which Mr. B. would, I suppose, be scarcely able to extricate himself, relating to the impossibility of the proceeding of such a work, as the creation of all things, from such an agent as he hath described God to be, so limited both in his essence and properties; yet, it being no part of my business to dispute or perplex any thing, that is simply in itself true and unquestionable, with the attendencies of it from other corrupt notions of him or them by whom it is received and proposed, I shall wholly omit all considerations of that nature, and apply myself merely to what is by him expressed. That he who is limited and finite in essence, and consequently in properties, should by his power, without the help of any intervening instrument out of nothing produce, at such a vast distance from him, as his hands can by no means reach unto such mighty' effects, as the earth itself, and the fulness thereof, is not of an easy proof or resolution. But on these things at present I shall not insist: certain it is, that on this apprehension of 1. Epicureans disputed for the impossibility of the
the world. oculis intueri potuerit vester Plato fabricam illam tanti operis, qua dificari mundum facit? Quæ molitio? Quæ ferramenta ? Qui vectes? Quæ machinæ? Qui ministri tanti muneris fuerunt? Quemadmodum autem obediendo parere voluntati architecti aer, ignis, aqua, terra, potuerunt? Velleius apud Ciceron. de Nat. Deor. lib. 1. statim a principio.
His first question then is,
•Were the heaven and earth from all eternity, or created at a certain time? And by whom?'
To which he answers with Gen. i. 1. 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.'
Right. Only in the exposition of this verse, as it discovers the principal efficient cause of the creation of all things, or the author of this great work, Mr. B. afterward expounds himself to differ from us, and the word of God in other places. By ‘God' he intends the Father only and exclusively; the Scripture plentifully ascribing this work also to the Son, and Holy Ghost, manifesting their concurrence in the indivisible Deity unto this great work; though by way of eminency, this work be attributed to the Father, as that of redemption is to the Son, and that of regeneration to the Holy Ghost; from neither of which notwithstanding is the Father excluded.
Perhaps the using of the name of God in the plural number, where mention is made of the creation, in conjunction with a verb singular, Gen. i. 1. and the express calling of God our Creators and Makers, Eccles. xii. 1. Psal. cxlix. 2. Job xxxv. 10. wants not a significancy to this thing. And, indeed, he that shall consider the miserable evasions that the adversaries have invented to escape the argument thence commonly insisted on, must needs be confirmed in the persuasion of the force of it. Mr. Biddle may happily close with Plato in this business; whoin his Timæus' brings in his onucoupyòs, speaking to his Genii about the making of man; telling them that they were mortal, but incouraging them to obey him, in the making of other creatures upon the promise of immortality. “Turnd you,' saith he, 'according to the law of nature to the making of living creatures, and imitate
b Poterat et illud de angelis intelligi, faciamus hominem &c. sed quia sequitur, ad imaginem nostram, nefas est credere, ad imagines angelorum hominem esse factum, aut eandem esse imaginem angelorum et Dei. Et ideo recte intelligitur pluralitas Trinitatis. Quæ tamen Trinitas, quia unus est Deus, etiam cum dixisset, faciamus, et fecit, inquit, Deus hominem ad imaginem Dei: non vero dixit, fecerunt Dii ad imaginem Deorom. August. de Civit. Dei. lib. 16. cap. 6.
Georg. Enjed in. Explicat. loc. Ver. et Nov. Testam. in Gen. j. 26. 4 Τρέσεσθε κατά φύσιν υμεις επί τήν τών ζώων δημιουργίαν, μιμούμενοι την εμην δύναμιν Tepi Tay in wv yéveo iv. Plato. in Timæo.
power, which I used in your generation or birth. A speech fit enough for Mr. B.'s god, 'who is shots up in heaven,' and not able of himself to attend his whole business. But what a sad success this Demiurgus had, by his want of prescience, or foresight of what his demons would do (wherein also Mr. Biddle likens God unto him) is farther declared : for they imprudently causing a conflux of too much matter and humour, no small tumult followed thereon in heaven, as at large you may see in the same author. However, it is said expressly the Son or Word created all things, John i. 3. 'and by him are all things,' 1 Cor. viii. 6. Rev. iv. 11. Of the Holy Ghost the same is affirmed, Gen. i. 2. Job xxvi. 13. Psal. xxxiii. 6. Nor can the Word and Spirit be degraded from the place of principal efficient cause in this work, to a 'condition of instrumentality only which is urged (especially in reference to the Spirit), unless we shall suppose them to have been created before any creation, and to have been instrumental of their own production. But of these things in their proper place.
His second question is, 'How long was God making them ?' And he answers from Exod. xx. 11. In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.'
The rule formerly I prescribed to myself of dealing with Mr. B. causes me to pass this question also, without farther inquiry; although, having already considered what his notions are concerning the nature and properties of God, I can scarce avoid conjecturing, that by this crude proposal of the time wherein the work of God's creation was finished, there is an intendment to insinuate such a gross conception of the working of God, as will by no means be suited to his omnipotent production of all things. But speaking of things no farther than enforced, I shall not insist on this query.
His third is,' How did God create man ?' And the answer is, Gen. ii. 7. To which he adds a fourth, 'How did he create woman?' which he resolves from Gen. ii. 21, 22.
Mr. Biddle, undertaking to give all the grounds of religion in his catechisms, teacheth as well by his silence as his expressions. What he mentions not in the known doetrine he opposeth, he may well be interpreted to reject. As to the matter whereof man and woman were made, Mr. Bid
dle's answers do express it; but as to the condition and state wherein they were made, of that he is silent; though he knows the Scripture doth much more abound in delivering the one than the other. Neither can his silence in this thing be imputed to oversight or forgetfulness, considering how subservient it is to his intendment in his two lat questions, for the subverting of the doctrine of original sin, and the denial of all those effects and consequences of the first breach of covenant whereof he speaks. He can upon another account take notice, that man was made in the image of God. But whereas hitherto Christians have supposed that that denoted some spiritual perfection bestowed on man, wherein he resembles God, Mr. B. hath discovered that it is only an expression of some imperfection of God, wherein he resembles man; which yet he will as hardly persuade us of, as that a man hath seven eyes, or two wings, which are ascribed unto God also. That man was created in a resemblance and likeness unto God, in that immortal substance breathed into his nostrils, Gen. ii. 7. in the excellent ra. tional faculties thereof; the dominion he was intrusted withal over a great part of God's creation, but especially in the integrity and uprightness of his person; Eccles. vii. 29. wherein he stood before God, in reference to the obedience required at his hands; which condition, by the implanting of new qualities in our soul, we are through Christ in some measure renewed unto; Col. iii. 10. 12. Eph. iv. 24. the Scripture is clear, evident, and full in the discovery of; but hereof Mr. B. conceives not himself bound to take notice. But what is farther needful to be spoken as to the state of man before the fall, will fall under the consideration of the last question of this chapter.
Mr. B.'s process in the following questions, is to express the story of man's outward condition, unto the eighth, where he inquires after the commandment given of God to man, when he put him into the garden, in these words:
Q. What commandment gave he to the man, when he put him into the garden ?' This he resolves from Gen. ii. 16, 17. That God gave our first parents the command ex-. pressed is undeniable. That the matter chiefly expressed in that command, was all, or the principal part of what he required of them, Mr. B. doth not go about to prove. I