Imatges de pàgina

consequence, no proper unity either of the Word or Spirit in their primitive relation, yet in their associations there will be ; as for example, THE WORD INCARNATE is a proper unity, so is THE HOLY GHOST SENT OR INSPIRED. The Father himself is not God absolutely, but God in that relation : of course the Son and Holy Ghost can be so only in theirs ; as may be gathered from different expressions in Scripture, and particularly from that memorable benediction, “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, (scil. the Father) and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all” (Cor. II. xiii. 14). Though in general when God only is mentioned, neither person will be particularly understood, but the Being or Godhead presented in all. For as the Word alone is not one person of God, any more than the Spirit, but Christ the Son and Word is one Person, and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is another-so God himself alone is not one person; but God the Father, from whom the Son and Holy Ghost are equally derived. It is the Father that makes them God, namely by birth or production, as they make him the Father and Fountain of their existence by being begotten by and proceeding from him, but do not make him God.

-Such is the nature and extent of their reciprocity. And they, namely the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are all regarded as distinctions of one Subject, because that Subject is but one in all : of which any one might be satisfied by reconsidering and comparing a few explanations here before given; as for example

=1, It is impossible to make two things of the ratio of an existence and the existence itself: therefore in the Godhead, God and Logos, God the Father and Son or Word must be One.

=2, It is impossible to make two things of an agent and his acting whether latent or apparent, which is in fact his life and spirit: therefore God and the Spirit of God, whether Father or Son, must be all one; namely the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, One God altogether: and which if one should describe in one person, it would be thus, namely, 1 The Father as his principle, 2 the Word as his Ratio or intelligible Presence, 3 the Spirit as his sensible Presence or Operation : so making altogether One jointly, as each is distinctly. For notwithstanding this distinction, separate us who can either presence,-the ratio, or the operation, of an intellectual being from his principle or self; or let him

say who can, which of all these may be a part or less than the whole of the other : for the thing is impossible. Distinguish “ these Three” as widely as you please, they will always be One; assimilate them as nearly as you please, they will always be Three. The Son is not the Father, nor the Father the Son; yet these Two are One: the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son; yet “these Three are One:" and the way in which they are so, it is hoped has been sufficiently explained.

2. As there seems however but too much room for cavil on this subject, and there are numbers who live by such cavil; supporting a base monopoly by the basest artifices * ; it may be worthy of our best and most earnest endeavour, to clear the doctrine of the Trinity, and disappoint the mystery-mongers, if possible, by approaching that doctrine as we should any other naturally above our comprehension ; namely by the help of analogy; the use of which is, to bring within sight at least such objects as our unaided reason could hardly overtake. The highest and consequently worthiest, scale or object for comparison at present is found in our own nature, the highest of which we have any absolute perception : and if, as before observed, every comparison between this nature and the divine must tend to shew their disparity, it may still enable us to approach or keep more in sight of our purpose; than we could perhaps without such comparison : for to inquiries after truth even negatives have their use, and are not always without information.

* Like making it necessary, for example, at once to believe a proposition, and believe it unintelligible : two articles on one point that do not seem reconcileable.

1, Admitting therefore some favoured individuals of our species to be indeed, as it is said, "Partakers of the divine nature” (Pet II. i. 4); and (which it would not be too much to assume in that case) partakers also of the angelic, continuing human at the same time; we should then see exemplified, not two natures only, but three natures in one person : which may be thought an expressive parallel for the relation of the Holy Trinity. Or

2, Perhaps a nearer parallel may be conceived in the union of many individuals, whether of the human or of the angelic race; as it may be of several persons in one nature; but most especially in the particular case of a man's immediate descent, where the three divine correlatives aforesaid would seem to be nicely imitated. However, to pursue the parallel as far it goes; we may observe, that God the Father and Son are One ACTUALLY and eternally according to their eternal nature, and One also eternally with the Holy Ghost, their common Spirit, in one indissoluble being or Godhead,-in the same manner as father and son are VIRTUALLY one in the human being, or manhood, previous to the birth' or begetting of the latter; their Spirit being also one with both at the same period, and in the same manner. Also that in the being of the Godhead one Principle or Beginning only applies to the Three divine Correlatives here mentioned; as supposing the human principle or beginning both of body and soul to be only one, which is probable enough, the principle of the first man must have extended, virtually at least as aforesaid, to the embryous detail of his whole posterity ; but with some difference, as for example,

-1, That the forthcoming race of Adam was only related to him in the same distant way that the regenerated of his race are related to their heavenly Father, and not in the near and necessary bond of communion in which the divine Father and Son are inversely related with the Holy Ghost.

-2, That the plurality of mankind is later than its unity or beginning; being the consequence of an after act, and that not like the unblemished act of creation. For upon the introduction of death by sin and the multiplication of the human species by death, as, the vegetable species are multiplied (John xii. 24), the unity of their being was completely broken up, and as it were annihilated: every new combination of human properties became thenceforth a new subject and a new source of reproductive existence, though still of the old sort, tainted with all the imperfection of a bad beginning, to which it can no more return than age to youth or the running stream to its fountain. And through the whole course of human existence not only persons but their constituents from the simple to the grossest or most complex, however similar in themselves and however running into each other, will still occur successively, and not together from the beginning as with the internal relations of the Godhead: whereby, namely by means of such succession, one man is rendered as distinct from another as any other animal can be from man. For the greater part of them neither come into the world together, nor depart together; and of those who live together, not any suffer and act together precisely, not many suffer and act in unison, but most of them are drawing different ways at the same time. One man eats at one time, another at another; and the refection of one will not allay the cravings of another's appetite, nor recruit his strength. In an intellectual respect one man is not the wiser for another's wisdom; nor in a moral the juster for another's integrity, nor in a pecuniary the richer for his wealth. Every man has his several lot and existence, every man is a government of himself, all issuing from one stock, and composing all together one grand federal republic, subject to certain conditions, and under the direction of One general Head, the Same as above proposed.

But what may this severalty be in the Godhead, as we are taught to consider it? Just three Persons, Mediums, or Presentations of One Supreme Being; instead of an


unlimited number of beings issuing from one : the same Three consenting in every purpose, cooperating in every

and that not by a contribution of means or efforts, but by an unity of principle; not by a contribution of faculty, but by an identity of life or substance : so that they are not properly helpers to each other so much as DOERS OF EACH OTHER'S DEEDS, according to the Word (John v. 19). They are like three several bodies with one life and soul, if such a case can be conceived, or like three streams supplied by one fountain, or like three kingdoms ruled and invigorated by one government. For the principle or stock is not here productive merely, but also component; not comprehensive only, but constituent; not one of three elements, as it was originally with mankind, namely of matter, spirit and intellect; but of three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; not three streams in one fountain either, but one Fountain in three streams; nor yet three governments in one kingdom, as we often find; but one government in three kingdoms.

The distinction between different natures in one person and different persons in one nature may be obvious enough for two parallels, and enough also perhaps of the kind : yet another of the same kind deserves to be mentioned as presenting another unity which is so much nearer to a parallel than the preceding as it cannot be said, that the same has ever been wholly dissolved since it was first combined, being that unhappy moral comprehension in which all men of whatever quality or degree have been and will be united “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. xii. 8), or who are not found in the union or nature of Christ. And this unhappy comprehension will be the same, whether we consider as its head “the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” (Eph. iv. 22,) or his corrupter, the devil, who still corrupts by him; being himself an host; whose unity is not disturbed by iniquity

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