Page images
PDF
EPUB

These are two very different conceptions. Both cannot of God,“ by whom, and for whom," it was built, and de true. The God of those who deny the Trinity, is not is preserved. The reason why the present circumthe God of those who worship the Trinity in Unity, nor stances of the natural world are, as before shown, on the contrary; so that one or the other worships neither wholly perfect, nor without large remains of what is “nothing in the world;" and, for any reality original perfection; neither accordant with the conin the object of worship, might as well worship a Pagan dition of condemned, nor of innocent creatures; but idol, which also, says St. Paul, “is nothing in the adapted only to such a state of man as the redeeming world.” If God be Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the scheme supposes, cannot, on the Socinian hypothesis, duties owing to God will be duties owing to that triune be discovered; for that redeeming scheme depends distinction, which must be paid accordingly; and who for its character upon our views of the person of Christ. ever leaves out any of them out of his idea of God, Without a settled opinion on these points, we are therecomes so far short of honouring God perfectly, and of fore, in this respect also, without the key to a just and serving him in proportion to the manifestations he has full explanation of the theological character of our premade of himself.”(4)

sent residence, the world. As the object of our worship is affected by our re- Another relation of the natural world to theology spective views on this great subject, so also its charac- lies in its duration. It was made for Christ; and the ter. We are between the extremes of pure and accept reason which determines that it shall be burned up able devotion, and of gross and offensive idolatry, and centres in him. He is appointed judge, and shall termust run to one or the other. If the doctrine of the minate the present scene of things, by destroying the Trinity be true, then those who deny it do not worship frame of the visible universe, when the probation of the God of the Scriptures, but a fiction of their own its inhabitants shall have expired. I beg the reader to framing; if it be false, the Trinitarian, by paying Divine turn to the remarks before made on the reason of a honours to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, is equally general judgment being found in the fact, that man is guilty of idolatry, though in another mode.

under grace and not strict law; and the argument Now it is surely important to determine this; and offered to show, that if we were under a covenant of which is the most likely to have fallen into this false mere obedience, no cause for such an appointment, as and corrupt worship, the very prima facie evidence that of a general judgment, would be obvious. If those may determine :-the Trinitarian, who has the letter, views be correct, then the reason, both of a general and plain common-sense interpretation of Scripture judgment and the final destruction of the world, is to for his warrant;-or he who confesses, that he must be found in the system of redemption, and consequently resort to all the artifices of criticism, and boldly chal- in such views of the person of Christ, as are not found lenge the inspiration of an authe sicated volume, to in the Socinian scheme. The conclusion therefore is, get rid of the evidence which it exhibits against him, that as "10 facts in nature,” even they are intimately if taken in its first and most obvious meaning:(5) It connected, in several very important respects, which is not now attempted to prove the Socinian heresy no wise man can overlook, with the doctrine of the from the Scriptures; this has long been given up, and Trinity. Socinianism cannot explain the peculiar phythe main effort of all modern writers on that side has been sical state of the world as connected with a state of directed to cavil at the adduced proofs of the opposite doc- trial; and the general judgment, and the “ end of all trine. They are, as to Scripture argument, wholly on things," bear no relation to its theology. the defensive, and thus allow, at least, that they have The connexion of the orthodox doctrine with morals no direct warrant for their opinions. We acknowledge, is, of course, still more direct and striking; and dim indeed, that the charge of idolatry would lie against us, į must have been that intellectual eye which could not could we be proved in error; but they seem to forget, discern, that, granting to the believers in the Trinity that it lies against them, should they be in error; and their own principles, its relation to morals is vital and that they are in this error, they themselves tacitly ac- essential. Whether those principles are supported by knowledge, if the Scriptures, which they now, in great the Scripture, is another consideration. If they could measure, reject, must determine the question. On that be disproved, then the doctrine ought to be rejected on authority, we may unhesitatingly account them idola- a higher ground than that here urged ; but to attempt to ters, worshippers of what " is nothing in the world;" | push it aside, on the pretence of its having no connexion and not of the God revealed in the Bible.(6). Thus, with morals, was but a very unworthy mode of veiling the only hope which is left to the Socinian is held on

the case.

For what are “ morals,” but conformity to the same tenure as the hope of the Deist,--the forlorn a Divine law, which law must take its character from hope that the Scriptures, which he rejects, are not true; its author ? The Trinitarian scheme is essentiaily confor if those texts they reject, and those books which nected with the doctrine of atonement; and what is they hold of no authority, be established, then this called the Unitarian theory necessarily excludes atonewhole charge, and its consequences, lie full against ment. From this arise opposite views of God, as the them.

Governor of the world; of the law under which we are 4. Dr. Priestley objects, “that no fact in nature, nor placed; of the nature and consequences of sin, the any one purpose of morals, requires this doctrine.” | violation of that law; points which have an essential The first part of the objection is sutile and trifling, if relation to morals, because they affect the nature of the he meant that the facts of nature do not require this sanctions which accompany the law of God. He doctrine for their philosophical illustration; for who who denies the doctrine of the Trinity, and its necessary seeks the explication of natural phenomena in theolo- adjunct, the atonement, makes sin a matter of compagical doctrines? But there is one view, in which even ratively trifling moment: God is not strict to punish right views of the facts of nature depend upon proper it; and if punishment follow, it is not eternal. Wheviews of the Godhead. All nature has a theological ther, under these sost and easy views of the law of reason, and a theological end; and its interpretation God, and of its transgression by sin, morals can have in these respects, rests whollý upon the person and an equal sanction, or human conduct be equally reoffice of our Lord. All things were made by the Son strained, are points too obvious to be argued; but a and for him; a theological view of the natural world, subject which involves views of the judicial character which is large or contracted, emphatic or spiritless, ac- of God so opposite, and of the evil and penalty of cording to the conceptions which we form of the Son offence, must be considered as standing in the most in.

timate relation with every question of morals. It is (4) WATERLAND.

presumed, too, in the objection, that faith, or, in other (5) St. Paul says, that all Scripture is given by in- words, a firm belief in tħe testimony of God, is no part 'spiration of God; but Dr. Priesiley tells us, that this of morality. It is, however, sufficient to place this signifies nothing more, than that the books were writ-matter in a very different light, if we recollect that, to ten by good men, with the best views and designs. believe, is so much a command that the highest sane

(6) To this purpose Witsius, who shows that there tion is connected with it. “He that believeth shall be can be neither religion nor worship, unless the Trinity saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” be acknowledged. “ Nulla etiam religio est, nisi quis Nothing, therefore, can be more important to us than verum Deum colat; non colit verum Deum, sed cerebri to examine, without captiousness and the spirit of unsui figmentum, qui non adorat in æquali divinitatis belief, what God hath revealed as the object of our faith, majestate Patrem, Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum. I since the rejection of any revealed truth, under the innunc, et doctrinam eam ad praxin inutilem esse clama, fluence of pride, whether of the reason or the heart ; siue qua nulla Fidei aut, Pietatis Christianæ praxis or through affectation of independence; or love of the esse potest.”

world; or any other corrupt motive; must be certainly

visited with punishment: the law of faith having the or as a Divine person,-as merely a Son of man, or as same authority, and the same sanction, as the law of the Son of God. If the former only, it is difficult to works. It is, therefore, a point of duty to believe, be. conceive in what this love, constantly represented as cause it is a point of obedience, and hence St. Paul "unspeakable” and astonishing, could consist. Inspeaks of "the obedience of faith.” For, as it has deed, if we suppose Christ to be a man only, on the been well observed, “ As to the nature of faith, it is a Socinian scheme, or as an exalted creature, according to matter of obligation, as being that natural homage the Arians, God might be rather said to have “ so loved which the understanding or will pays to God in re- his Son” than us, as to send him into the world on a ceiving and assenting to what he reveals upon his bare service so honourable, and which was to be followed word or authority. It is a humiliation of ourselves, and by so high and vast a reward, that he, a creature, a glorification of God."(7) It may be added, too, that should be advanced to universal dominion, and receive faith, which implies a submission to God, is an import- universal homage, as the price only of temporary sufant branch also of discipline.

ferings, which, upon either the Socinian or Arian The objection, that there can be no faith where there scheme, were not greater than those which many of is not sufficient evidence to command it, will not affect his disciples endured after him, and in many instances this conclusion. For when once the evidence of a di- not so great.(7) vine revelation is admitted, our duty to receive its doc- For the same reason, the doctrine which denies our trines does not rest upon the rational evidence we may Lord's Divinity diminishes the love of Christ himself, have of their truth; but upon the much easier and takes away its generosity and devotedness, presents it plainer evidence, that they are among the things ac- under views infinitely below those contained in the tually revealed. He, therefore, who admits a divine New Testament, and weakens the motives which are revelation, and rejects its doctrines, because he has not drawn from it to excite our gratitude and obedience. a satisfactory rational evidence of them, is more ob- “ If Christ was in the form of God, equal with God, viously criminal in his unbelief than he who rejects and very God, it was then an act of infinite love and the revelation itself, for he openly debates the case with condescension in him to become man; but if he was his Maker, a circumstance which indicates, in the most no more than a creature, it was no surprising condestriking manner, a corrupt habit of mind. It is, in- scension to embark in a work so glorious ; such as deed, often pretended, that such truths are rejected, not being the Saviour of mankind, and such as would adso much on this account, as that they do not appear to be vance him to be Lord and Judge of the world, to the sense of the revelation itself. But this cannot be be admired, reverenced, and adored, both by men and urged by those who openly lay it down as a principle, angels.”(8) To this it may be added, that the idea that a true revelation can contain nothing which to of disinterested, generous love, such as the love Christ them appears unreasonable: or that if it does, they are is represented to be by the Evangelists and the Aposbound by the law of their nature not to admit it. Nor tles, cannot be supported upon any supposition but that will it appear to be any other than an unworthy and he was properly a Divine person. As a man and as a dishonest pretence in all cases where such kinds of creature only, however exalted, he would have profited criticism are resorted to, to alter the sense of a text, by his exaltation; but, considered as Divine, Christ or to disprove its authority, as they would not allow gained nothing. God is full and perfect-he is exalted in the case of texts supposed, by a partial construction, “above blessing and praise;" and, therefore, our Lord, to favour their own opinion; or such as would be con- in that Divine nature, prays that he might be glorified demned by all learned and sober persons as hypercri- with the Father, with the glory he had BEFORE. Not tical and violent, if applied to any other writings. It a glory which was new to him; not a glory heightened may also be added, that should any of the great quali- in its degree; but the glory which he had with the ties required in a serious and honest inquirer after Father“ before the world was.” In a manner mystetruth have been uncultivated and unapplied, though a rious to us, even as to his Divine nature," he emptied sincere conviction of the truth of an erroneous con- hiinself-he humbled himself;" but in that nature he clusion may exist, the guilt of unbelief would not be returned to a glory which he had before the world was. removed by such kind of sincerity. If there has been The whole, therefore, was in him generous, disinteno anriety to be right; no prayer, earnest and devout, rested love, ineffable and affecting condescension. The offered to God, to be kept from error; if an humble heresy of the Socinians and Arians totally annihilates, sense of human liability to err has not been maintained; therefore, the true character of the love of Christ, “ so if diligence in looking out for proofs, and patience and that," as Dr. Sherlock well observes, " to deny the Diperseverance in inquiry have not been exerted; if honesty vinity of Christ alters the very foundations of Chrisin balancing evidence, and a firm resolution to em- tianity, and destroys all the powerful arguments of the brace the truth, whatever prejudices or interests it may love, humility, and condescension of our Lord, which contradict or oppose, have not been felt; even sincerity are the peculiar motives of the Gospel."(9) in believing that to be true, which, in the present state But it is not only in this view that the denial of the of a judgment determined, probably, before all the Divinity of our Lord would alter the foundation of the means of information have been resorted to, and, per- Christian scheme, but in others equally essential ; For, haps,

perverting influence a worldly or 1. The doctrine of satisfaction or atonement depends carnal state of mind, may appear to be so, will be no upon his Divinity; and it is, therefore, consistently excuse. We are under "a law of faith," and that law denied by those who reject the former. So important, cannot be supposed to be so pliable and nugatory, as however, is the decision of this case, that the very terms they who contend for the right of believing only what of our salvation, and the ground of our hope, are afthey please, would make it.

fected by it. These observations will show the connexion of the The Arians, now, however, nearly extinct, admitted doctrine of the Trinity with morals, the point denied the doctrine of atonement, though inconsistently. "No by Dr. Priestley.

creature could merit froin God, or do works of superBut, to leave this objection for views of a larger ex- erogation. If it de said that God might accept it as tent; our love to God, which is the sum of every duty, he pleased, it may be said, upon the same principle, that its sanctifying motive, and consequently a compendium he might accept the blood of bulls and of goats.' Yet of all true religion, is most intimately and even essentially connected with the doctrine in question. God's (7) “Equidem rem attentius perpendenti liquebit, ex love to us is the ground of our love to him; and by hypothesi sive Sociniani sive Ariana, Deum in hoc our views of that, it must be heightened or diminished. negotio amorem et dilectionem suam potius in illum The love of God to man in the gift of his Son is that ipsum filium, quam erga nos homines ostendisse. Quid manifestation of it on which the Scriptures most em- enim? Is qui Christus dicitur, ex mera Dei evdokia et phatically and frequently dwell, and on which they beneplacito in eam gratiam electus est, ut post brevem establish our duty of loving God and one another. hîc in terris Deo præstitam obedientiam, ex puro puto Now the estimate which we are to take of the love of homine juxta Socinistas, sive ex mera et mutabili creaGod, must be the value of his gifts to us. His great-tura, ut Ario-manite dicunt, Deus ipse fieret, ac diviest gift is the gift of his Son, through whom alone we nos honores, non modo a nobis hominibus sed etiam have the promise of everlasting life; but our estimate ab ipsis angelis atque archangelis sibi tribuendos asseof the love which gives must be widely different, ac- queretur, adeoque in alias creaturas omnes dominium cording as we regard the gift bestowed,--as a creature atque imperium obtineret."--BULL, Jud. Eccl. Cathol

(8) WATERLAND's Importance. (7) Norris on Christian Prudence.

(9) Defence of STILLINGFLEET.

the Apostle tells us, that it is not possible that the blood | the Lord thy God with all thy heart," if Christ himself of bulls and of goats should take away sin ; which be not that Lord our God. It must be love of the same words resolve the satisfaction, not merely into God's kind we feel to creatures from whom we have received free acceptance, but into the intrinsic value of the sa- any benefit, and a passion, therefore, to be guarded crifice."(i) Hence the Scriptures so constantly con- and restrained, lest it should become excessive and nect the atonement with the character,--the very Divi- wean our hearts and thoughts from God.

But surely nity of the person suffering. It was Jehovah who was it is not under such views that love to Christ is reprepierced, Zech. xii. 11; God, who purchased the church sented in the Scriptures; and against its excess, as with his own blood, Acts xx. 28. It was ó ACOTOTNS against creaturely attachments, we have certainly no the high Lord, that bought us, 2 Pet. ii. 1. It was the admonition, no cautions. The love of Christ to us Lord of glory that was crucified, 1 Cor. ii. 8.

also as a motive to generous service, sufferings, and It is no small presumption of the impossibility of death, for the sake of others, loses all its force and apholding, with any support from the common sense of plication. “The love of Christ constraineth us; for we mankind, the doctrine of atonement with that of an thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." inferior Divinity, that these opinions have so uniformly That love of Christ which constrained the Apostle was slided down into a total denial of it; and by almost all a love which led him to die for men. St. John makes persons, except those who have retained the pure faith the duty of dying for our brother obligatory upon all of the Gospel, Christ is regarded as a man only; and Christians, if called to it, and grounds it upon the same no atonement, in any sense, is allowed to have been fact. “He laid down his life for us, and we ought to made by his death. The terms, then, of human sal- lay down our lives for our brethren.” The meaning vation are entirely different on one scheme and on the doubtless is, in order to save them; and though men other; and with respect to their advocates, one is are saved by Christ's dying for them, in a very different “under law," the other“ under grace ;" one takes the sense from that in which they can be saved by our cause of his own salvation into his own hands, to ma- dying in the cause of instructing, and thus instrumennage it as he is able, and to plead with God, either that tally saving each other; yet the argument is founded he is just, or that he may be justified by his own peni- upon the necessary connexion which there is between tence and acts of obedient virtue; the other pleads the the death of Christ and the salvation of men. But, on meritorious death and intercession of his Saviour; in the Socinian scheme, Christ did, in no sense, die for his name and mediation makes his requests known unto men, no, not in their general mode of intepreting such God; and asks a justification by faith, and a renewal passages, " for the benefit of men :" for what benefit, of heart by the Holy Ghost. One stands with all his independent of propitiation, which Socinians deny, do offences before his Maker, and in his own person, men derive from the voluntary death of Christ, considerwithout a mediator and advocate; the other avails him- ed as a mere human instructer? If it be said his death was self of both. A question which involves such conse- an example, it was not specially and peculiarly so; for quences, is surely not a speculative one; but deeply both prophets and apostles have died with resignation practical and vital, and must be found to be so in its and fortitude. If it be alleged that it was to confirm final issue.

his doctrine, the answer is, that in this view it was 2. The manner in which the evil of sin is estimated nugatory, because it had been confirmed by undoubted must be very different on these views of the Divine miracles. If that he might confirm his mission by his Nature respectively; and this is a consequence of a resurrection, this might as well have followed from a directly practical nature. Whatever lowers in men a natural as from a violent death ; and besides the benefit sense of what an Apostle calls “the exceeding sinful- which men derive from him, is, by this notion, placed ness of sin,” weakens the hatred and horror of it among in his resurrection, and not in his death, which is almen, and by consequence encourages it. In the Soci- ways exhibited in the New Testament with marked nian view, transgressions of the Divine law are all and striking emphasis. The motive to generous sacriregarded as venial, or, at most, to be subjected to fices of ease and life, in behalf of men, drawn from the slight and temporary punishment. In the orthodox death of Christ, has, therefore, no existence whenever doctrine, sin is an evil so great in itself, so hateful to his Godhead and sacrifice are denied. God, so injurious in its effects, so necessary to be re- 4. The general and habitual exercises of the affecstrained by punishment, that it dooms the offender to tions of TRUST, HOPE, JOY, &c. towards Christ, are all eternal exclusion from God, and to positive endless interfered with by the Socinian doctrine. This has, in punishment, and could only be forgiven through a sa- part, been stated; but “if the Redeemer were not omcrifice of atonement, so extraordinary as that of the nipresent and omniscient, could we be certain that he death of the Divine Son of God. By these means, for always hears our prayers, and knows the source and giveness only could be promised; and the neglect of remedy of all our miseries? If he were not all-merthem, in order to pardon and sanctification too, aggra- ciful, could we be certain he must always be willing to vates the punishment, and makes the final visitation pardon and relieve us? If he were not all-powerful, of justice the more terrible.

could we be sure that he must always be able to sup3. It totally changes the character of Christian ex- port and strengthen, to enlighten and direct us? Of perience. Those strong and painful emotions of sor- any being less than God, we might suspect that his row and alarm, which characterize the descriptions and purposes might waver, his promises fail, his existence example of RePENTANCE in the Scriptures, are totally itself, perhaps, terminate; for, of every created being, incongruous and uncalled for, upon the theory which the existence must be dependent and terminable."(2) denies man's lost condition, and his salvation by a The language, too, I say not of the Church of Christ process of redemption. Faith, too, undergoes an es- in all ages, for that has been formed upon her faith, but sential change. It is no longer faith in Christ. His of the Scriptures themselves, must be altered and doctrine or_his mission are its objects; but not, as brought down to these inferior views. No dying saint the New Testament states it, his person, as a surety, can say, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," if he be a 2 sacrifice, a mediator: and much less than any man like ourselves; and the redeemed neither in thing else can it be called, in the language of Scrip- heaven nor in earth can dare to associate a creature so ture, faith in his bloon,” a phrase utterly incapa- with God in divine honours and solemn worship, as to ble of an interpretation by Socinians. Nor is it possible unite in the chorus, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, to offer up PRAYER to God in the name of Christ, though and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, expressly enjoined upon his disciples, in any sense and unto the Lamb, for ever!" which would not justify all the idolatry of the Roman The same essential changes must be made in the Church, in availing themselves of the names, the in- doctrine of Divine agency in the heart of man, and in terests, and the merits of saints. In a Socinian, this the church, and the same confusion introduced into the would even be more inconsistent, because he denies language of Scripture. “Our salvation by Christ does the doctrine of mediation in any sense which would not consist only in the expiation of our sins, &c., but intimate that a benevolent God may not be immedia in communication of divine grace and power, to renew ately approached by his guilty but penitent creatures. and sanctify us : and this is every where in Scripture Love to Christ, which is made so eminent a grace in attributed to the Holy Spirit, as his peculiar office in internal and experimental Christianity, changes also its the economy of man's salvation : it must therefore character. It cannot be supreme, for that would be to make a fundamental change in the doctrine of divine break the first and great command, “Thou shalt love grace and assistance, to deny the Divinity of the Holy (1) WATERLAND's Importance.

(2) Dr. Graves's Scriptural Proofs of the Trinity,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Spirit. For can a creature be the universal spring and that more is taken for granted than the Socinians will fountain of divine grace and life! Can a finite creature allow; for this argument does not rest at all upon what be a kind of universal soul to the whole Christian the deniers of our Lord's Divinity understand by all Church, and to every sincere member of it? Can a these terms, and what interpretations may be put upon creature make such close application to our minds, them. This is the popular view of the subject which know our thoughts, set bounds to our passions, inspire has just been drawn from the Scriptures; and they us with new affections and desires, and be more inti-themselves acknowledge it by resorting to the arts and mate to us than we are to ourselves? If a creature be labours of far-fetched criticism, in order to attach to the only instrument and principle of grace, we shall these passages of Scripture a sense different to the obsoon be tempted either to deny the grace of God, or to vious and popular one. But it is not merely the popular make it only an external thing, and entertain very sense of Scripture. It is so taken, and has been taken mean conceits of it. All those miraculous gifts which in all ages, by the wisest men and most competent were bestowed upon the apostles and primitive Chris- critics, to be the only consistent sense of the sacred tians, for the edification of the church, all the graces volume; a circumstance which still more strongly of the Christian life, are the fruits of the Spirit. The proves, that if the Scriptures were written on Socinian Divine Spirit is the principle of immortality in us, principles, they are more unfortunately expressed than which first gave life to our souls, and will, at the last any book in the world, and they can, on no account, be day, raise our dead bodies out of the dust; works considered a Divine Revelation, not because of their which sufficiently proclaim Him to be God, and which obscurity, for they are not obscure, but because terms we cannot heartily believe, in the Gospel notion, if he are used in them which convey a sense different from be not."(3) All this has been felt so forcibly by the what the writers intended, if indeed they were Socideniers of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, that they nians. But their evidences prove them to be a revelahave escaped only by taking another leap down the tion of truth from the God of truth, and they cannot gulf of error; and at present, the Socinians deny that therefore be so written as to lead men, who use only there is any Holy Ghost, and resolve the whole into a ordinary care, into fundamental error; and the configure of speech.

clusion, therefore, must inevitably be, that if we must But the importance of the doctrine of the Holy admit either on the one hand what is so derogatory to Trinity may be finally argued from the manner in which the Scriptures, and so subversive of all confidence in the denial of it would affect the credit of the Holy them, or, on the other, that the doctrine of the Divinity Scriptures themselves; for if this doctrine be not con- of the son and Holy Spirit is there explicitly taught, tained in them, their tendency to mislead is obvious. there is no medium between absolute infidelity and the Their constant language is so adapted to deceive, and acknowledgment of our Lord's Divinity; and indeed, even to compel the belief of falsehood, even in funda- to adopt the representation of a great divine, it is mental points, and to lead to the practice of idolatry rather to rave than to reason, to suppose that he whom itself, that they would lose all claim to be regarded as the Scriptures teach us to regard as the Saviour of our a revelation from the God of truth, and ought rather to souls, and as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, be shunned than to be studied. A great part of the and redemption; he who hears our prayers and is Scriptures is directed against idolatry, which is de- always present with his Church throughout the world, elared to be “that abominable thing which the Lord who sits at the right hand of God, in the glory of his hateth ;" and in pursuance of this design, the doctrine Father, and who shall come at the last day, in glory that there is but one God is laid down in the most ex- and majesty, accompanied with ministering angels, to plicit terms, and constantly confirmed by appeals to judge all mankind and to bring to light the very secrets his works. The very first command in the decalogue of their hearts, should be a mere man, or a created being is, “Tho shalt have no other Gods before me;" and of any kind.(4) the sum of the law, as to our duty to God, is, that we I close this view of the importance of the doctrine of love HIM“ with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and the Trinity with the observations of Dr. Waterland. strength.” If the doctrine of a Trinity of Divine per- “ While we consider the doctrine of the Trinity as sons in the unity of the Godhead be consistent with all interwoven with the very frame and texture of the this, then the style and manner of the Scriptures are in Christian religion, it appears to me natural to conceive perfect accordance with the moral ends they propose, that the whole scheme and economy of man's redempand the truths in which they would instruct mankind; tion was laid with a principal view to it, in order to but if the Son and the Holy Spirit are creatures, then is bring mankind gradually into an acquaintance with the the language of the sacred books most deceptive and three Divine persons, one God blessed for ever. I dangerous. For how is it to be accounted for, in that would speak with all due modesty, caution, and revecase, that in the Old Testament, God should be spoken rence, as becomes us always in what concerns the unof in plural terms, and that this plurality should be re- searchable councils of heaven: but I say, there apstricted to three? How is it that the very name Jeho- pears to me none so natural, or so probable an account vah should be given to each of them, and that repeat of the Divine dispensations, from first to last, as what edly and on the most solemn occasions? How is it I have just mentioned, namely, that such a redemption that the promised incarnate Messiah should be invested, was provided, such an expiation for sins required, such in the prophecies of his advent, with the loftiest attri- a method of sanctification appointed, and then revealed, butes of God, and that works infinitely superhuman, that so men might know that there are three divine and divine honours, should be predicted of him? and persons, might be apprized how infinitely the world that acts and characters of unequivocal divinity, ac- is indebted to them, and might accordingly be both incording to the common apprehension of mankind, structed and inclined to love, honour, and adore them should be ascribed to the Spirit also ? How is it that, here, because that must be a considerable part of their in the New Testament, the name of God should be employment and happiness hereafter.”(5) given to both, and that without any intimation that it is to be taken in an inferior sense? That the creation (4) Oikovwula, quæ ipsi tribuitur, Ocoloylav necesand conservation of all things should be ascribed to sario supponit, ipsumque omnino statuit. Quid enim ? Christ; that he should be worshipped by angels and Messiam sive Christum prædicant sacræ nostræ literæ by men; that he should be represented as seated on the et credere nos profitemur omnes, qui sit animarum throne of the universe, to receive the adorations of all sospitator, qui nobis sit sapientia, justitia, sanctificatio, creatures; and that in the very form of initiation by et redemptio-qui preces suorum, ubivis sacrosanctum baptism into his church, itself a public and solemn ejus nomen invocantium, illico exaudiat-qui ecclesiæ profession of faith, the baptism is enjoined to be per- suæ per universum terrarum orbem disseminatæ, semformed in the one name of the Father, Son, and Holy per præsto sit—qui Deo Patri, ovv@povos, et in eadem Ghost? One God and two creatures! As though the sede collocatus sit-qui denique, in exitu mundi, imvery door of entrance into the Christian church should mensa gloria et majestate refulgens, angelis ministris have been purposely made the gate of the worst and stipatus, veniet orbem judicaturus, non modo facta ommost corrupting error ever introduced among mankind, nia, sed et cordis secreta omnium quotquot fuere hotrust and worship in creatures, as God; the error minum in lucem proditurus, &c. Hæccine omnia in which has spread darkness and moral desolation over purum hominem, aut creaturam aliquam competere ? the whole pagan world!

Fidenter dico, qui ita sentiat, non modo contra Fidem, And here it cannot be said that the question is begged sed et rationem ipsam insanire.-BULL, Judic. Eccl.

Cath. (3) SHERLOCK's Vindication.

(5) Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

-and God's own in היה or הוה is from יהוה that *

In order to bring this great controversy in such an that the most eminent critics derive it from 77177 fuit, order before the reader, as may assist him to enter with existit; which in Kal signifies to be, and in Hiphel to advantage into it, I shall first carefully collect the lead- cause to be. Buxtorf, in his definition, includes both ing testimonies of Seripture on the doctrine of the these ideas, and makes it signify a being existing from Trinity and the Divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit,-- himself from everlasting to everlasting, and communiadduce the opinions of the Jewish and Christian cating existence to others, and adds that it signifies the churches, -answer objections,-explain the chief mo- Being who is, and was, and is to come. Its derivation dern heresies on this subject, and give their Scriptural has been variously stated by critics, and some fanciful confutation. An observation or two on the difficulties in potions have been formed of the import of its several which the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Unity Itters; but in this idea of absolute existence all agree. of one undivided Godhead is said to involve us, may “It is acknowledged by all,” says Bishop Pearson, properly close this chapter.

“' Mere difficulty in conceiving of what is wholly proper terpretation proves no less, Exod. iii. 14. Some con. and peculiar to God, forms no objection to a doctrine. tend, that futurition is essential to the name, yet all It is more rationally to be considered as a presumption of its truth, since in the nature of God there must be agree the root signifieth nothing but essence or existmysteries far above the reach of the human mind. All of the Divine Being could therefore bé more distinctive

ence, that is, το ειναι or υπαρχειν.»(7) No appellation his natural attributes, though of some of them we have than that which imports independent and eternal being; images in ourselves, are utterly incomprehensible; and and for this reason probably it was, that the Jews up the manner of his existence cannot be less so. All at

to a very high antiquity had a singular reverence for it; Jempts, however, to show that this great doctrine im-carried, it is true, to a superstitious scrupulosity; but plies a contradiction, have failed. A contradiction is thereby showing that it was the name which unveiled, only where two contraries are predicated of the same

to the thoughts of those to whom it was first given, the thing, and in the same respect. Let this be kept in

awful and overwhelming glories of a self-existent Beview, and the sophisms resorted to on this point by the ing--the very unfathomable depths of his eternal Godadversaries of the faith, will be easily detected. They

head.(8) urge, that the same thing cannot be three, and one, that

In examining what the Scriptures teach of this selfis, if the proposition has any meaning at all, not in the existent and eternal Being, our attention is first arsame respect; the three persons are not one person, rested by the important fact, that this ONE Jehovah is and the one God is not three Gods. tradiction to say, that in different respects the three or twice, but in a countless number of instances. So

But it is no con- spoken of under plural appellations, and that not once may be one; that is, that in respect of persons, they that the Hebrew names of God, acknowledged by all shall be three, and in respect of Godhead, essence, or

to be expressive and declaratory of some peculiariiy or nature, they shall be one. The manner of the thing is excellence of his nature, are found in several cases in a perfeetly distinct question, and its incomprehensi- the plural as well as in the singular form, and one of bility proves nothing but that we are finite creatures: them, Aleim, generally so; and, notwithstanding it was and not Gou. As for difficulties, we shall certainly not

so fundamental and distinguishing an article of the be relieved by running either to the Arian or the So

Jewish faith, in opposition to the polytheism of almost cinian hypothesis. The one ascribes the first formation all other nations, there was but one living and true and the perpetual government of the universe, not to God. I give a few instances. Jehovah, if it has not a the Deity, but to the wisdom and power of a creature; plural form, has more than one personal application. for, however exalted the Arian inferior Deity may be,

" Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorhe is a creature still. The other makes a mere man rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” the creator of all things. For whatever is meant by

We have here the visible Jehovah, who had talked with " the Word in St. John's gospel, it is the same Word of Abrahain, raining the storm of vengeance from another which the evangelist says, that all things were made Jehovah, out of heaven, and who was therefore invisiby it, and that itself was made flesh. If this Word be ble. Thus we have two Jehovahs expressly mentioned, the Divine attribute wisdom, then that attribute in the de

“the Lord rained from the LORD," and yet we have it gree which was equal to the formation of the universe, | most solemnly asserted in Deut. vi. 4, “ İlear, O Israel, in this view of the Scripture doctrine, was conveyed entire into the mind of a mere man, the son of a Jew. Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.”.

The very first name in the Scriptures under which ish carpenter! A much greater difficulty, in my appre- the Divine Being is introduced to us as the Creator of hension, than any that is to be found in the Catholic faith.”(6)

heaven and earth, is a plural one, Obx Alkim ; and to connect, in the same singular manner as in the foregoing instance, plurality with unity, it is the nominative case to a verb singular. “In the beginning,

Gods created the heavens and the earth." of this CHAPTER IX.

form innumerable instances occur in the Old TestaTRINITY.-Scripture Testimony.

ment. That the word is plural, is made certain by its In adducing the doctrine of a Trinity of Divine per- being often joined with adjectives, pronouns, and verbs sons in the Unity of the Godhead from the sacred vo- plural; and yet when it can mean nothing else than lume, by exhibiting some of its numerous and decisive the true God, it is generally joined in its plural form testimonies as to this being the mode in which the Di- with verbs singular. To render this still more striking, vine nature subsists, the explicit manner in which it the Aleiin are said to be Jehovah, and Jehovah the is there laid down, that there is but one God, must Aleim: thus in Psalm c. 3, “Know ye, that Jehovah, again be noticed.

he, the Aleim, he hath made us, and not we ourselves." This is the foundation and the key-stone of the whole And in the passage before given, “Jehovah our ALEIM, fabric of Scriptural theology; and every argument in (Gods,) is one Jehovah.” 5* Al., the mighty one, anfavour of the Trinity flows from this principle of the other name of God, has its plural D7 Alim, the absolute UNITY of God, a principle which the heresies mighty ones. The former is rendered by Trommius at which we have glanced fancy to be inconsistent with the orthodox doctrine.

Ocos, the latter 0801. YOX ABIR, the potent one, has The solemn and unequivocal manner in which the the plural DiyaX ABirim, the potent ones. Man did Unity of God is stated as a doctrine, and is placed as eat the bread of the Abirim, "angel's food," conveys the foundation of all true religion, whether devotional no idea; the manna was the bread provided miracuor practical, need not again be repeated ; and it is here / lously, and was therefore called the food of the powersuficient to refer to the chapter on the Unity of God. ful ones, of them who have power over all nature, the

Of this one God, the high and peculiar, and, as it has one God. been truly called, the appropriate name is JEHOVAH; which, like all the Hebrew names of God, is not an in- (7) Exposition of the Creed. significant and accidental term, but a name of revela- (8) MAIMONIDES tells us, that it was not lawful to tion, a name adopted by God himself for the purpose of utter this name, except in the sanctuary, and by the making known the mystery of his nature. To what priests. “Nomen, quod, ut nosti, non proferre licet, has been already said on this appellation, I may add, nisi in sanctuario, et a sacerdotibus Dei sanctis, solum

in benedictione sacerdotum, ui et a sacerdote magno in (6) HORsLet's Letiers.

i die jejunii.”

« PreviousContinue »