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purpose to convince the world of sin, and righteous- ! reaping where he has not sown, and gathering where
ness, and judgment. To enlighten them who were in he has not strowed.” His law is, however, unchange-
darkness, and turn the disobedient to the wisdom of able in its demand upon man for universal obedience,
the just, to strengthen its converts to true religion, unto because man is considered in it as a creature capable
all obedience, and long-suffering, and patience, to en- of yielding that obedience; but when the human race
able them to resist temptation, to abound in the fruits became corrupt, means of pardon, consistent with right-
of righteousness, and perfect holiness in the fear of eous government, were introduced, by the atonement
God.”(1)

for sin made by the death of Jesus Christ, received by
Since, then, it is so manifest, that “the Lord loveth faith; and supernatural aid was put within their reach,
righteousness and hateth iniquity,” it must be neces- by which the evil of their nature might be removed,
sarily concluded, that this preference of the one, and and the disposition and the power to obey the law of
hatred of the other, flow from some principle in his very God imparted. The case of heathen nations to whom
nature. “ That he is the righteous Lord.—Of purer the gospel is not yet preached may hereafter be con-
eyes than to behold evil,-one who cannot look upen sidered. It involves some difficulties, but it is enough
iniquity.” This principle is holiness, an attribute for us to know, that “ the Judge of the whole earth
which, in the most emphatic manner, is assumed by will do right;" and that this shall be made apparent to
himself, and attributed to him, both by adoring angels all creatures, when the facts of the whole case shall
in their choirs and by inspired saints in their worship. be disclosed, “ in the day of the revelation of Jesus
He is, by his own designation," the Holy ONE of Is-Christ.”
rael ;" the seraphs, in the vision of the prophet, cry Judicial justice, more generally termed distributive
continually “ HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is the Lord God of justice, is that which respects rewards and punish-
Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory," thus sum-

God renders to men according to their works. ming up all his glories in this sole moral perfection. This branch of justice is said to be remunerative, or The language of the sanctuary on earth is borrowed premiative, when he rewards the obedient; and vinfrom that of heaven--"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, dictive, when he punishes the guilty. With respect to and glorify thy name, for thou only art IIoly.” the first, it is indeed reward, properly speaking, not of

If, then, there is this principle in the Divine mind, debt, but of grace; for antecedently, God cannot be a which leads him to prescribe love, and reward truth, debtor to his creatures; but since he binds himself by justice, benevolence, and every other virtuous affection engagements in his law," this do and thou shalt live, and habit in his creatures which we sum up in the express or tacit, or attaches a particular promise of reterm holiness; and to forbid, restrain, and punish ward to some particular duty, it becomes a part of jus their opposites ; that principle being essential in him, tice to perform the engagement. On this principle also, a part of his very nature and Godhead, must be the St. Paul says, Heb. vi. 10,“ God is not unrighteous to spring and guide of his own conduct; and thus we forget your work and labour of love.—And if we conconceive, without difficulty, of the essential rectitude fess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our or holiness of the Divine Nature, and the absolutely sins.” “ Even this has justice in it. It is, upon one pure and righteous character of his administration : account, the highest act of mercy imaginable, consider* In him there can be no malice, or envy, or hatred, or ing with what liberty and freedom the course and merevenge, or pride, or cruelty, or tyranny, or injustice, thod were settled, wherein sins come to be pardoned: or falsehood, or unfaithfulness; and if there be any but it is an act of justice also, inasmuch as it is the obthing besides which implies sin, and vice, and moral servation of a method to which he had bound himself, imperfection, holiness signifies that the Divine Na- and from which afterward, therefore, he cannot deture is at an infinite distance from it."(2) Nor are we part, cannot vary.”(4) only to conceive of this quality negatively, but posi- Vindictive or punitive justice consists in the infiictively also, as “the actual perpetual rectitude of all tion of punishment. It renders the punishment of unhis volitions, and all the works and actions which are pardoned sins certain, so that no criminal shall escape; consequent thereupon; and an eternal propension and it guarantees the exact proportion of punishment thereto, and love thereof, by which it is altogether im- to the nature and circumstances of the offence. Both possible to that will that it should ever vary."(3) these circumstances are marked in numerous passages

This attribute of holiness exhibits itself in two great of Scripture, the testimony of which on this subject branches, justice and truth, which are sometimes also may be summed up in the words of Elihu ; “ for the treated of as separate attribntes.

work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause Justice, in its principle, is holiness, and is often ex- every man to find according to his ways, yea, surely pressed by the term righteousness; brit when it relates God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty to matters of government, the universal rectitude of pervert judgment." the Divine Nature shows itself in inflexible regard to What is called commutative justice relates to the what is right, and in an opposition to wrong, which exchange of one thing for another of equal value, and cannot be warped or altered in any degree whatever. is called forth by contracts, bargains, and similar transJust and right is he.” Justice in God, when it is not actions among men; but this branch of justice belongs regarded as universal, but particular, is either legis- not to God, because of his dignity. “He hath no equal, lative or judicial.

there are none of the same order with him to make Legislative justice determines man's duty, and binds exchanges with him, or to transfer rights to him for him to the performance of it, and also defines the re- any rights transferred from him.” “Our righteouswards and punishments, which shall be due upon the ness extendeth not to him, nor can man be profitable creature's obedience or disobedience. This branch of to his Maker.” The whole world of creatures is chalDivine justice has many illustrations in Scripture. lenged and humbled by the question, “Who hath The principle of it is, that absolute right which God given him any thing, and it shall be recompensed to has to the entire and perpetual obedience of the crea- him again ?" tures which he has made. This right is unquestionable, Strict impartiality is, however, a prominent characand in pursuance of it all moral agents are placed under ter in the justice of God. “ There is no respect of perlaw, and are subject to rewards or punishments. None sons with God.” As, on the one hand, he hateth nothing are excepted. Those who have not God's revealed law, which he has made, and cannot be influenced by prehave a law " written on their hearts,” and are“ a judices and prepossessions; so, on the other, he can law unto themselves.” The original law of obedience fear no one, however powerful. No being is necessary given to man was a law, not to the first man, but to to him, even as an agent to fulfil his plans, that he the whole human race; for if, as the Apostle has laid it should overlook his offences; no combination of beings down,“ the whole world,” comprising both Jews and can resist the steady and equal march of his adminisGentiles, is “guilty before God," then the whole world tration. The majesty of his Godhead sets him infinitely is under a law of obedience. In this respect God is above all such considerations. “ The Lord our God just in asserting his own right to be obeyed, and in is the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, a great God, & claiming from the creature he has made and preserved mighty and terrible, which regardeth not persons, neithe obedience which in strict righteousness he owes; ther taketh rewards.--He accepteth not the person of but this claim is strictly limited, and never goes be- princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor, for yond justice into rigour. “ He is not a hard master, they are all the work of his hands."

There

are,

however, many circumstances in the ad(1) ABERNETHY'S Sermons. (2) TILLOTSON. (3) HOWE.

(4) Howe's Post. Works.

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ministration or the affairs of the world, which appear ness, by that man whom he hath ordained," and since irreconcilable to that strict and exact exercise of jus. also the final rewards of the reconciled and recovered tice we have ascribed to God, as the supreme Ruler. part of mankind are equally delayed, it is folly to look These have sometimes been urged as objections, and for a perfect exercise of justice in the present state. the writers of systems of “natural religion" have We may learn, therefore, from this, often found it difficult to answer them. That has 1. That it is no impeachment of a righteous govern arisen from their excluding from such systems, as ment, that external prosperity should be the lot of great much as possible, the light of revelation; and on that offenders. It may be part of a gracious administration account, much more than from the real difficulties of to bring them to repeutance by favour, or it may be the cases adduced, it is, that their reasonings are often designed to make their fall and final punishment more unsatisfactory. Yet if man is, in point of fact, under marked; or it may be intended to teach the important a dispensation of grace and mercy, and that is now in lesson of the slight value of outward advantages, seperfect accordance with the strictest justice of God's parate from holy habits and a thankful mind. moral government, neither his circumstances, nor the 2. That it is not inconsistent with rectitude, that conduct of God towards him, can ever be judged of, even those who are forgiven and reconciled, those who by systems which are constructed expressly on the are become dear to God, should be afflicted and opprinciple of excluding all such views as are peculiar to pressed, since their defects and omissions may require che Scriptures. In attempting it, the cause of truth chastisement, and since also these are made the means has been injured rather than served; because a feeble of their excelling in virtue, of aiding their heavenlyargument has been often wielded, when a powerful one mindedness, and of qualifying them for a better state. was at hand; and the answer to infidel objectors has 3. That as the administration under which man is been partial, lest it should be said, that the full and suffi- placed one of grace in harmony with justice, the cient reply was furnished, not by human reason, but by dispensation of what is matter of pure favour may the reason, the wisdom of God nimself, as imbodied in his have great variety and be even very unequal without word. This is, however, little better than a solemn man- any impeachment of justice. The parable of the laner of tritling with truths which so deeply concern men bourers in the vineyard seems designed to illustrate

But let the two facts which respect the relations of this. To all, God will be able, at the reckoning at the man to God as the Governor of the world, and which close of the day, to say, “I do thee no wrong;" no stamp their character upon his administration, be both principle of justice will be violated; it will then aptaken into account;--that God is a just ruler,-and pear, that "he reaps not where he has not sown.” But yet, that offending man is under a dispensation of the other principle will have been as strikingly made mercy, which provides, through the sacrifice of Christ manifest, " Is it not lawful for me to do what I will meritoriously, and his own repentance and faith in- with my own ?” strumentally, for his forgiveness, and for the healing With nations the case is otherwise. Their rewards of his corrupted nature; and a strong and, generally, and punishments, being of a civil nature, may be fully a most satisfactory light is thrown upon those cases administered in this life, and, as bodies politic, they which have been supposed most irreconcilable to an have no posthumous existence. Reward and retribuexact and righteous government.

tion, in their case, have been therefore in all ages viThe doctrine of a future and general judgment, sible and striking; and, in the conduct of the Great which alone explains so many diffieulties in the Divine Ruler to them, “his judgments" are said to be abroad administration, is grounded solely on the doctrine of in the earth.” In succession, every vicious nation has redemption. Under an administration of strict jus- perished; and always by means so marked, and often tice, punishment must have followed offence without so singular, as to bear upon them a broad and legible delay. This is indicated in the sanction of the first punitive character. With collective bodies of men, law, “in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely indeed, the government of God in this world is greatly die," a threat which, we may learn from Scripture, concerned ; and that both in their civil and religious would have been executed fully, but for the immediate character; with churches, so to speak, as well as with introduction of the redeeming scheme. If we suppose states; and, in consequence, the cases of individuals, the first pair to have preserved their innocence, and any as all cannot be of equal guilt or innocence, must often of their descendants at any period to have become dis- be mixed and confounded. These apparent, and someobedient, they must have borne their own iniquity; | times, perhaps, from the operation of a general sysand punishment, to death, and excision, must instantly tem, real irregularities, can be compensated to the have followed; for, in the case of a Divine govern- good, or overtaken as to the wicked, in their personal ment, where the parties are God and a creature, every character in another state, to which we are constantly sin must be considered capital, since the penalty of directed to look forwards, as to the great and ample death is, in every case, the sentence of the Divine law comment upon all that is obscure in this. against transgression. Under such an adıninistration, For the discoveries of the word of God as to this atno reason would seem to exist for a general jucigment tribute of the Divine nature, we owe the most grateful at the close of the world's duration. That has its acknowledgments to its Author. Without this revelareason in the circumstances of trial in which men are tion, indeed, the conceptions which heathens form of placed by the introduction of a method of recovery. the justice with which the world is administered, are Justice, in connexion with a sufficient atonement, ad- exceedingly imperfect and unsettled. The course of mits of the suspension of punishment for offence, of the world is to them a flow without a direction, movelong-suffering, of the application of means of repent- ment without control; and gloom and impatience must ance and conversion; and that throughout the whole often be the result:(4) taught as we are, we see noterm of natural life. The judgment, the examination, thing loose or disjointed in the system. A firm hand and public exhibition of the use or abuse of this pa- grasps and controls and directs the whole. This gotience, and of those means, is deferred to one particu- verning power is also manifested to us as our friend, lar day, in which he who now offers grace shall admi- our father, and our God, delighting in mercy, and renister justice, strict and unsparing. This world is sorting only to severity when we ourselves oblige the not the appointed place of final judgment, under the reluctant measure. On these firm principles of jusnew dispensation; the space of human life on earth tice and mercy, truth and goodness, every thing in priis not the time appointed for it; and however difficult vate as well as public is conducted; and from these it may be, without taking these things into considera- stable foundations, no change, no convulsion, can tion, to trace the manifestations of justice in God's moral government, or to reconcile certain circum- (4) The accomplished Quinctilian may be given as stances to the character of a righteous governor, by an instance of this, and also of what the Apostle calls their aid the difficulty is removed. Justice, as the their sorrowing “ without hope." In pathetically laprinciple of his administration, has a sufficiently awsul menting the death of his wise and sons, he tells us, manifestation in the miseries which in this life are that he had lost all taste for study, and that every good attached to vice; in the sorrows and sufferings to parent would condemn him, if he employed his tongue which a corrupted race is subjected; and, above all, in for any other purpose than to accuse the gods, and testhe satisfaction exacted from the Son of God himself, tify against a Providence. “Quis enim bonus parens as the price of human pardon : but since the final pun- mihi ignoscat, ac non oderit hanc animi mei firmitaishrnent of persevering and obstinate offenders is, by tem, si quis in me est alius usus vocis, quam ut incuGod's non proclamation, postponed to "a day ap- sem deos, superstes omnium meorum, nullam terras pointed, in which he will judge ihe world in righieous- despicere providentiam tester ?"--Instit. Lib. 6

cerns.

shake off the vast frame of human interests and con-, God which are distinctly revealed to us in his own

word; in addition to which, there are other and more Allied to justice, as justice is allied to holiness, is general ascriptions of excellence to him, which though, the Truth of God, which manifestation of the moral from the very greatness of the subject, and the impercharacter of God has also an eminent place in the in- fection of human conception and human language, they spired volume. His paths are said to be “mercy and are vague and indeterminate, serve, for this very reatruth,"—his words, ways, and judgments, to be true son, to heighten our conceptions of him, and to set beand righteous. “ His mercy is great to the heavens fore the humbled and awed spirit of man an overand his truth to the clouds. He keepeth truth for whelming height and depth of majesty and glory. ever. The strength of Israel will not lie. It is im- God is perfect. We are thus taught to ascribe to possible that God should lie. He is the faithful God | him every natural and moral excellence we can conwhich keepeth covenant and mercy: he abideth faith-ceive; and when we have done that, we are to conful.” From these and other passages, it is plain that clude, that if any nameless and unconceived glory be truth is contemplated by the sacred writers in its two necessary to complete a perfection which excludes all great branches, veracity and faithfulness, both of deficiency; which is capable of no excess; which is which they ascribe to God, with an emphasis and vi- unalterably full and complete-it exists in him. Every gour of phrase which show at once their belief of the attribute in him is perfect in its kind, and is the most facts, their trust and confidence in them, and the im- elevated of its kind." It is perfect in its degree, not fallportant place which they considered the existence of ing in the least below the standard of the highest exsuch a being to hold in a system of revealed religion. cellence, either in our conceptions, or those of angels, It forms, indeed, the basis of all religion, to know the or in the possible nature of things itself. These vatrue God, and to know that that God is true. In the rious persections are systematically distributed into Bible this must of necessity be fully and satisfactorily incommunicable, as self-existence, immensity, eterdeclared, because of the other discoveries which it nity, omniscience, omnipotence, and the like, because makes of the Divine Nature. If it reveals to us, as there is nothing in creatures which could be signified the only living and true God, a being of knowledge in- by such names; no common properties of which these finitely perfect, then he himself cannot be deceived; could be the common terms, and therefore, they remain and his knowledge is true, because conformable to the peculiarly and exclusively proper to God himself : and exact and perfect reality of things. If he is holy, communicable, such as wisdom, goodness, holiness, without spot or defect, then his word must be conform- justice, and truth, because, under the same names, able to his knowledge, will, and intention : on this ac- they may be spoken of him and of us, though in a count he cannot deceive others. In all his dealings sense infinitely inferior. But all these perfections with us, he uses a perfect sincerity, and represents form the one glorious perfection and fulness of excelthings as they are, whether laws to be obeyed, or doc- lence which constitutes the Divine Nature. They are trines to be believed. All is perfect and absolute vera- not accidents, separable from that nature, or supercity in his communications. “God is light, and in him added to it; but they are his very nature itself, which is is no darkness at all."

and must be perfectly wise and good, holy and just, His faitHFULNESS relates to his engagements, and almighty and all-sufficient. This idea of positive peris confirmed to us with the same certainty as his vera- fection, which runs through the whole of Scripture, city. If he enters into engagements, promises, and co- warrants us also to conclude, that, where negative atvenants, he acts with perfect freedom. These are acts tributes are ascribed to God, they imply always a posiof grace to which he is under no compulsion, and they tive excellence. Immortality implies “an undecaying can never, therefore, be reluctant engagements which fulness of life;" and when God is said to be invisible, he would wish to yiolate; because they flow from a the meaning is that he is a being of too high an excelceaseless and changeless inclination to bestow benefits lence, of too glorious and transcendent a nature, to be and a delight in the exercise of goodness. They can subject to the observation of sense. never be made in haste or unadvisedly, for the whole God is all-sufficient. This is another of those declacase of his creatures to the end of time is before him, rations of Scripture which exalt our views of God into and no circumstances can arise which to him are new a mysterious, unbounded, and undefined amplitude of or unforeseen. He cannot want the power to fulfil his grandeur. It is sufficiency, absolute plenitude and promises, because he is omnipotent; he cannot promise Tulness from himself, eternally rising out of his own beyond his ability to make good, because his fulness is perfection ; for himself, so that he is all to himself, infinite; finally, he cannot deny himself,” because and depends upon no other being; and for all that com"he is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man munication, however large and however lasting, on that he should repent;" and thus every promise which which the whole universe of existent creatures depenus, he has made is guaranteed, as well by his natural at- and from which future creations, if any take place, can tributes of wisdom, power, and sufficiency, as by his only be supplied. The same vast thought is expressed perfect moral rectitude. In this manner the true God by St. Paul, in the phrase “ALL IN ALL,” which, as stands contrasted with the "lying vanities” of the Howe justly observes, (5) " is a most godlike phrase, heathen deities; and in this his character of truth the wherein God doth speak of himself with divine everlasting foundations of his religion are laid. That ness and majestic sense. Here is an ALL IN ALL; an changes not, because the doctrines taught in it are in all comprehended, and an all comprehending; one crethemselves true without error, and can never be dis- ate and the other uncreate; the former contained in the placed by new and better discoveries; it fails not, be- latter, and lost like a drop in the ocean, in the all-comcause every gracious promise must by him be accom- prehending, all-pervading, all-sustaining, uncreated fulplished; and thus the religion of the Bible continues ness." “In him we live, and move, and have our from age to age, and from day to day, as much a matter being." of personal experience as it ever was. In its doc- God is unsearchable. All we see or hear of him is trines, it can never become an antiquated theory, for saint and shadowy manifestation. Beyond the highest truth is eternal. In its practical application it can glory, there is yet an unpierced and unapproached light, never become foreign to man, for it enters now, and a tract of intellectual and moral splendour, untravelled must ever enter into his concerns, his duties, hopes, by the thoughts of the contemplating and adoring spiand comforts, to the end of time. We know what is rits who are nearest to his throne. The manifestation of true as an object of belief, because the God of truth this nature of God, never fully to be revealed, because has declared it; and we know what is faithful, and, infinite, is represented as constituting the reward and therefore, the object of unlimited trust, because he is felicity of heaven. This is “to see God.” This is “to faithful that hath promised.” Whether, therefore, in be for ever with the Lord.” This is to behold his glory the language of the old divines, we consider God's as in a glass, with unveiled face, and to be changed into word as “declaratory or promissory," declaring “how his image, from glory to glory, in boundless progression things are or how they shall be,” or promising to us and infinite approximation. Yet, after all, it will be as certain benefits, its absolute truth is confirmed to us by true, after countless ages spent in heaven itself, as in the truth of the Divine Nature itself; it claims the un- the present state, that none by “searching can find out divided assent of our judgment, and the unsuspicious God,” that is, " to perfection.” Ile will then be “a trust of our hearts; and presents, at once, a sure rest- God that hideth himself;" and widely as the illuminaing-place for our opinions, and a faithful object for our tion may extend, “ clouds and darkness will still be confidence. Such are the adorable attributes of the ever blessed

(5) Posthumous Works

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round about him.-His glorious name is exalted above i trated the trinity of persons in the same Divine Nature all blessing and praise. --Thine, O Lord, is the great, by the analogy of three or more men liaving each the ness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, same human nature; by the union of two natures of and the majesty ; for all that is in the heaven and man in one person; by the trinity of intellectual priin the earth is thine; thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, mary faculties in the soul, power, intellect, and will, and thou art exalted as head over all.--BLESSED be the

"posse, scire, velle,” which they say are not three parts LORD God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; of the soul, "" it being the whole soul quæ potest, que and BLESSED be his glorious NAME for ever, and let intelligit, et que vult ;” by motion, light, and heat in the whole earth be filled with his GLORY. Amen and the sun, with many others. Of these instances, howAmen."

ever, we may observe, that even granting them all to be philosophically true, they cannot be proofs ; they are seldom, or but very inapplicably, illustrations; and the

best use to which they have ever been put, or of which CHAPTER VIII.

they are indeed capable, is to silence the absurd objec

tions which are sometimes drawn from things merely GOD.-The Trinity in Unity.

natural and finite, by answers which natural and finite We now approach this great mystery of our faith, things supply; though both the objections and the anfor the declaration of which we are so exclusively in

swers often prove, that the subject in question is too debted to the Scriptures, that not only is it incapable of elevated and peculiar to be approached by such analoproof à priori, but it derives no direct confirmatory gies. Of these illustrations, as they have sometimes evidence from the existence, and wise and orderly ar- been called, Baxter, though inclined to make too much rangement, of the works of God. It stands, however, of them, well enough observes,—" It is one thing to on the unshaken foundation of his own word: that tes- show in the creatures a clear demonstration of this tritimony which he has given of himself in both Testa- nity of persons, by showing an effect that fully answerments; and if we see no traces of it, as of his simple ethit, and another thing to show such vestigia adumbrabeing and operative perfections, in the works of his tion, or image of it, as hath those dissimilitudes which creative power and wisdom, the reason is that creation must be allowed in any created image of God. This is in itself could not be the medium of manifesting or of it which I am to do.”(7) This excellent man has been illustrating it. Some, it is true, have thought the Tri- charged, perhaps a little too hastily, with adopting one nity of Divine persons in the Unity of the Godhead

de- of the theories given above, as his

own view of the trimonstrable by natural reason. Poiret and others, for- nity, a trinity of personified attributes rather than of merly, and Professor Kidd, recently, have all attempted real persons. It must, however, be acknowledged, that to prove,

not that this doctrine implies a contradiction, he has given some occasion for the allegation, but his but that it cannot be denied without a contradiction; and conclusion is worthy of himself, and instructive to all : that it is impossible but that the Divine Nature should -“But for my own part, as I unfeignedly account the so exist. The former endeavours to prove that neither doctrine of the Trinity the very sum and kernel of the creation nor indeed any action in the Deity was possible, Christian religion (as expressed in our baptism), and but from this tri-unity. But his arguments, were they Athanasius his creed, the best explication of it that ever adduced, would scarcely be considered satisfactory, even I read; so I think it very unmeet in these tremendous by those whose belief in the doctrine is most settled. mysteries to go farther than we have God's own light The latter argues from notions of duration and space, to guide us."(8) which themselves have not hitherto been satisfactorily The term person has been variously taken. It signiestablished, and if they had, would yield but slight as- fies in ordinary language an individual substance of a sistance in such an investigation. This, however, may rational or intelligent nature.(9) In the strict philosobe said respecting such attempts, that they at least phical sense, it has been said, two or more persons show, that men, quite as eminent for strength of un- would be two or more distinct beings. If the term derstanding and logical acuteness as any who have person were so applied to the trinity in the Godhead, a decried the doctrine of the Trinity as irrational and plurality of Gods would follow; while if taken in contradictory, find no such opposition in it to the rea- what has been called a political sense, personality son, or to the nature of things, as the latter pretend to would be no more than relation arising out of office. be almost self-evident. The very opposite conclusions Personality in God is, therefore, not to be understood reached by the parties, when they reason the matter in either of the above senses, if respect be paid to the by the light of their own intellect only, is a circum- testimony of Scripture. God is one Being; this is adstance, it is true, which lessens our confidence in mitted on both sides. But he is more than one being in pretended rational demonstrations; but it gives neither three relations; for personal acts, that is, such acts as party a right to assume any thing at the expense of the we are used to ascribe to distinct persons, and which other. Such failures ought, indeed, to produce in us a we take most unequivocally to characterize personality, proper sense of the inadequacy of human powers to are ascribed to each. The Scripture doctrine therefore search the deep things of God; and they forcibly exhi- is, that the persons are not separate, but distinct ; that bit th necessity of Divine teaching in every thing they “are united persons, or persons having no sepawhich relates to such subjects, and demand from us an rate existence, and that they are so united as to be but entire docility of mind, where God himself has conde

one Being, one God." In other words, that the one scended to become our instructer.

Divine Nature exists under the personal distinction of More objectionable than the attempts which have Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. been made to prove this mystery by mere argument, “The word person,” Howe remarks, "must not be are pretensions to explain it; whether, by what taken to signify the same thing, when spoken of God logicians call immanent acts of Deity upon himself, and of ourselves.” That is, not in all respects. Neverfrom whence arise the relations of Father, Son, and theless, it is the only word which can express the sense Holy Ghost; or by assuming that the Trinity is the of those passages, in which personal acts are unequivosame as the three “essential primalities, or active pow.cally ascribed to each of the Divine subsistences in the ers in the Divine essence, power, intellect, and will,”(6) Godhead. Perhaps, however, one may be allowed to for which they invent a kind of personification ; or doubt whether, in all respects, the term person may not by alleging that the three persons are “ Deus seipsum be taken to signify “the same thing” in us and in God. intelligens, Deus a seipso intellectus, et Deus a seipso It is true, as before observed, that three persons among amatus." All such hypotheses either darken the coun- men or angels would convey the idea of three different sel they would explain, by “ words without know, and separate beings; but it may be questioned whether ledge," or assume principles, which, when expanded this arises from any thing necessarily conveyed in the into their full import, are wholly inconsistent with the idea of personality. We have been accustomed to obdoctrine as it is announced in the Scripture, and which serve personality only in connexion with separate betheir advocates have professed to receive.

ings; but this separation seems to be but a circumstance It is a more innocent theory, that types and symbols connected with personality, and not any thing which of the mystery of the Trinity are found in various na

arises out of personality itself. Dr. Waterland clearly tural objects. From the Fathers, many have illus- defines the term person, as it must be understood in this (6) “ Potentia, Intellectus, et Voluntas,” or “ Poten- (7) Christian Religion.

(8) Ibid. tia, Sapientia, et Amor.” Campanella, Richardus, and (9) It is defined by Occam, " Suppositum iitelothers.

lectuale."

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controversy, to be "an intelligent agent, having the dis. , tirely equal to, and independent upon, each other, yet
tinct characters, I, THOU, HE.” That one being should making up one and the same being; and that, though
necessarily conclude one person only, is, however, what there may appear many things inexplicable in the
none can prove from the nature of things; and all that scheme, it is to be charged to the weakness of our under-
can be affirmed on the subject is, that it is so in fact standing, and not to the absurdity of the doctrine itself.
among all intelligent creatures with which we are ac- “Bishop Pearson, with whom Bishop Bull also agrees,
quainted. Among them, distinct persons are only seen is of opinion, that though God the Father is the fountain
in separate beings, but this separation of being is of the Deity, the whole Divine Nature is communicated
clearly an accident of personality, for the circuinstance from the Father to the Son, and from both to the Spirit,
of separation forms no part of the idea of personality yet so as that the Father and the Son are not separate,
itself, which is confined to a capability of performning nor separable from the Divinity, but do still exist in it,
personal acts. In God, the distinct persons are repre- and are most intimately united to it. This was also
sented as having a common foundation in one being : Dr. Owen's scheme."(2)
but this union also forms no part of the idea of per- The last view appears to comport most exactly with
sonality, nor can be proved inconsistent with it. The the testimony of Scripture, which shall be presently
manner of the union, it is granted, is incomprehensible, adduced.
and so is Deity himself, and every essential attribute Before we enter upon the examination of the Scrip-
with which his nature is invested.

tural proofs of the Trinity, it may be necessary to im-
It has been said, that the terin person is not used in press the reader with a sense of the importance of this
Scripture, and some who believe the doctrine it ex- revealed doctrine; and the more so as it has been a part
presses, have objected to its use. To such it may be of the subtle warfare of the enemies of this funda-
sufficient to reply, that provided that which is clearly mental branch of the common faith, to represent it as
stated in Scripture, be compendiously expressed by this of little consequence, or as a matter of useless specu-
term, and cannot so well be expressed, except by an lation. Thus Dr. Priestley, “All that can be said for it
inconvenient periphrasis, it ought to be retained. They is, that the doctrine, however improbable in itself, is
who believe such a distinction in the Godhead as necessary to explain some particular texts of Scripture;
amounts to a personal distinction, will not generally be and that, if it had not been for those particular texts, we
disposed to surrender a word which keeps up the force should have found no want of it, for there is neither
of the Scriptural idea; and they who do not, object not any fact in nature, nor any one purpose of morals,
to the term, but to the doctrine which it conveys. It is which are the object and end of all religion, that re-
not, however, so clear, that there is not Scripture war- | quires it."(3)
rant for the term itself. Our translators so concluded, The non-importance of the doctrine has been a fa.
when, in lieb. i. 3, they call the Son, “the express vourite subject with its opposers in all ages, that by
image” of the person" of the Father. The original allaying all fears in the minds of the unwary, as to the
word is hypostosis; which was understeod by the consequences of the opposite errors, they might be put
Greek Fathers to signify a person, though not, it is true, off their guard, and be the more easily persuaded to part
exclusively so used.(1) The sense of uTooTaois in this with “the faith delivered to the saints." The answer
passage must, however, be considered as fixed by the is, however, obvious.
Apostle's argument, by all who allow the Divinity of 1. The knowledge of God is fundamental to religion ;
the Son of God. For the Son being called "the express and as we know nothing of him but what he has been
image” of the Father, a distinction between the Son pleased to reveal, and as these revelations have all moral
and the Father is thus unquestionably expressed; but if ends, and are designed to promote piety and not to gratify
there be but one God, and the Son be Divine, the curiosity, all that he has revealed of himself in parti-
distinction here expressed cannot be a distinction of cular must partake of that character of fundamental
essence, and must therefore be a personal one. Not importance which belongs to the knowledge of God in
from the Father's essence, but froin the Father's hypo- the aggregate. “This is life eternal, that they might
stasis or person, can he be distinguished. This seems know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom
sufficient to have warranted the use of hypostasis in the thou hast sent." Nothing, therefore, can disprove the
sense of person in the early church, and to authorize the fundamental importance of the Trinity in Unity, but
latter term in our own language. In fact, it was by that which will disprove it to be a doctrine of Scripture.
the adoption of the two great theological terms oporolos 2. Dr. Priestley allows, that this doetrine" is neces-
and utoorao's that the early church at length reared up sary to explain some particular texts of Scripture."
impregnable barriers against the two leading heresies This alone is sufficient to mark its importance; espé-
into which almost every modification of error as to the cially as it can be shown, that these “particular texts
person of Christ may be resolved. The former, which of Scripture" comprehend a very large portion of the
is compounded of quos the same, and sola substance, sacred volume; that they are scattered throughout
stood opposed to the Arians who denied that Christ was almost all the books of both Testaments; that they are
of the substance of the Father, that is, that he was not incidentally introduced only, but solemnly laid down
truly God; the latter, when fixed in the sense of person, as revelations of the nature of God; and that they
resisted the Sabellian scheme, which allowed the Di- manifestly give the ne both to the thinking and the
vinity of the Son and Spirit, but denied their proper phrase of the sacred writers on many other weighty
personality.

subjects. That which is necessary to explain so many Among the leading writers in defence of the Trinity passages of holy writ; and without which, they are so there are some shades of difference in opinion, as to incorrigibly unmeaning, that the Socinians have felt what constitutes the Unity of the three persons in the themselves obliged to submit to their evidence, or to Godhead. Doddridge thus expresses these leading dif- expunge them from the inspired record, carries with it ferences among the orthodox :

an importance of the highest character. So important, “Mr. Howe seerns to suppose, that there are three indeed, is it, upon the showing of these opposers of the distinct, eternal spirits, or distinct intelligent hypostases, truth themselves, that we can only preserve the Scrip each having his own distinct, singular, intelligent na- tures by admitting it; for they, first by excepting to the ture, united in such an inexplicable manner, as that genuineness of certain passages, then by questioning upon account of their perfect harmony, consent, and the inspiration of whole books, and, finally, of the affection, to which he adds their mutual self-conscious- greater part, if not the whole New Testament, have ness, they may be called the one God, as properly as nearly left themselves as destitute of a revelation from the different corporeal, sensitive, and intellectual natures God, as infidels themselves. No homage more expresunited may be called one man.

sive has ever been paid to this doctrine, as the doctrine “Dr. Waterland, Dr. A. Taylor, with the rest of the of the Scriptures, than the liberties thus taken with the Athanasians, assert three proper distinct persons, en- Bible, by those who have denied it; no stronger proof

can be offered of its importance, than that the Bible (1) “Nonnunquam utrošaois pro eo quod nos ovolav cannot be interpreted upon any substituted theory, they dicimus et vice versà vox ovola pro eo quod nos vroSCOIY themselves being the judges. appellamus, ab ipsis accepta t'uit."-Bishop Bull. 3. It essentially affects our views of God as the object Y roçaols, it ought, however, to be observed, was used of our worship, whether we regard him as one in esin the sense of person, before the council of Nice, by sence, and one in person, or admit that in the unity of many Christian writers, and, in the ancient Greek this Godhead there are three equally Divine persons. Lexicons, it is explained by mooow rov, and rendered by the Latins persona.

(9) Lectures. (3) History of Early Opinions.

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