Imatges de pÓgina

lity not proper to the subject is attributed to it; and in the explication of which, that the subject may be viewed in its own light, the borrowed idea is to be exchanged for the proper one which it represents. In this case the sub. ject is supposed, when stripped of its ornament, to be well understood. It is only an artificial method of dressing up an idea of which we have already some conception. The analogical method of teaching is very different. It is founded in a certain resemblance, in circumstances, be. tween two things which are in their nature different. That resemblance is supposed to be distinctly perceived by the teacher, though not by the learner. In this case ideas are borrowed from such things as are known to the learner, and applied to the thing unknown to him; and these borrowed ideas, which are sufficiently plain and intelligible, are made to stand for the precise idea which the learner is incapable of entertaining. To receive instruction in this manner, the figure is not to be withdrawn that the subject may be understood; for the subject can be understood only by retaining it. The idea thus communi. cated is not, however, to be entertained as the precise idea (i. e., the altogether proper and perfect picture) of the thing in question, (for it is, “ a shadow, and not the very image of the thing;”) but as the best idea of it of which we are capable.

It is by this analogical method, God has been pleased to make to mankind the brightest discoveries of himself “ We know only in part." 6 We see, di' EOONTPOU EV aiviypati, through a mirror, in an enigma," i Cor. xiii, 12. For instance :

“ God is light.” The idea suggested by this assertion is, that there is a certain analogy between God and light. What light is to the natural world, God is to the spiritual. But light is matter, and is divisible and movable. Is God then divisible and movable matter? No: God is spiritual light. But what consistency is there between spirituality and matter ? None at all. The idea is “not the very image;" it is but, as it were, a shadow” of God. But we must not lay it aside, for it is one of the best we can have. We speak as the oracles of God

“God is light,” though the idea is not strictly compatible with the spirituality which we attribute


when we say,

to him. The spirituality of God is not, however, contra. dictory to his real nature, but to our imperfect idea of him. If our idea of him were perfect, there would not be even the appearance of inconsistency. Again :

“ God is a Spirit.” That is, God is something analogous to the human spirit. Of the nature of our own spirit we have no precise idea ; although we have some idea of its properties. But if we had the most definite idea of our own spirit, that idea would be infinitely short of him who is a Spirit very different from ourselves. The idea then conveyed by these words is not the precise and perfect idea of God. Must we then relinquish it? No : for we have no substitute for it. It is the idea which God himself has suggested. Yet the same diffi. culty occurs here which we meet in the doctrine of the trinity: to this imperfect and finite idea we attribute in. finite perfections. There is something in the idea con. tradictory to what we ascribe to him whom it is supposed to represent. But all the apparent contradiction arises from the imperfection of our idea. We have no alter. native, however, but imperfect knowledge, or perfect ignorance.

As by analogy God has discovered to us his nature in general, so, by analogy, he has discovered to us that great mystery of his nature, the distinction between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the respective relation of each of them to the other.

1. The first analogy which we trace is that of matter, form, and motion. It is not asserted that God is any. where said to be a material being. The passage to which we refer is that in which, speaking of Jesus Christ, the apostle says he “ was ev uopon Jeov, in the form of God," Phil. ii, 6. Now it is granted that “God is a Spirit.” He is not an extended, solid substance; and, properly speaking, he has no external form. Moses, therefore, reminded the children of Israel, “ Ye saw no similitude," Deut. iv, 12. Form is predicated of God

, improperly, and under the borrowed idea of matter. Here then we have the idea of matter and its form. The Holy Spirit is spoken of as of matter in motion. « The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” Gen. i, 2. It is spoken of as “ descending," "coming,” and “ go.


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ing,” Luke iii, 22; John i, 32, &c. ; 1 Chron. xii, 18;

. ; 1 Kings xxii, 24 ; 2 Chron. xviii, 23. Motion, however, does not properly belong to spirit, especially to the omnipresent Spirit. It is therefore attributed to imma. terial substance, under the borrowed idea of matter in motion. We have then the ideas of matter, of the form of matter, and of matter in motion. What the internal, unknown essence of matter is to material substance, that the unknown Father is in the divine nature. What the form of matter is to the internal, unknown essence of matter, that the Son is to the Father.

As the un. known essence of matter is perceived and distinguished only by its external form, so the Father is perceived and known only through the Son. As matter operates upon matter only by motion, so God operates on his creatures only by the Spirit.

2. The next analogy on which we shall remark, is that of the sun, its light and its vital influence. The sacred writers, in speaking of God, often allude to the sun, which is

Of this great world both eye and soul. “ Unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of right. eousness arise,” Mal. iv, 2. What the internal, unknown substance is in the sun, that the Father is in the godhead. As from the former all natural light proceeds, the latter is "the Father of lights." What perceptible light is to the internal, unknown substance of the sun, that the Son is to the Father : the anavyaoua ens dofns, “ bright. ness of his glory.” The Son is therefore “the light of the world.” As the sun is seen only by the light of his beams, and his beams impress on all nature an image of the sun, so the Father is seen only in the Son, and in the Son all who have eyes to see behold the Father. In like manner what the vital influence of the sun and of its beams is to the sun and to its beams, that the Holy Spirit is to the Father and to the Son. As the vital influence flows from the sun through its beams, so the Spirit pro. ceeds from the Father through the Son. And as the in. Auence of the sun is the material origin and support of vegetable and animal life, so the Spirit of God is the spiritual cause of life to animals and to spirits. 66 With thee is the fountain of life; and in thy light shall we see



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light,” Psa. xxxvi, 9. “ If he gather unto himself his Spirit and his breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust,” Job xxxiv, 14, 15,

3. Let us next examine the analogy of being, its image and its operation. God is being itself: "I AM” is his

Of that being the Father is the unknown, invisible

“ No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Of that unknown Being the Son is the visible image. 6 Who is the image of the invisible God,” Col. i, 15; "the xapaktnp TNS UTOSCOEWS, character of his substance,” Heb. i, 3. The Holy Spirit is that Being operating on all created beings.

6. There are diversities of operations ; but it is the same God which worketh all in all." “ All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit," 1 Cor. xii, 6–11. The Father is God hidden from us ; the Son is God revealed to us; the Holy Spirit is God working in us.

4. There is also an allusion to mind, discourse, and breath or wisdom. Mr. G. says, “Our most sublime conception of God is as the all-pervading Mind.” (Vol. i, p. 13.) This Mind has its noyos, word, discourse, or reason : “ His word is called o hoyos, the Word of God,” Rev. xix, 13; John i, 1. As the word, or discourse of man, is conceived by his mind-is originally in his mind—is an image of his mind—when uttered, displays his mind and his mind is displayed only by that discourse-so the Word of God is conceived by the Father -is originally in the Father—is an image of the Father ; in coming forth from the Father, displays the Fatherand the Father is displayed only by him. Again : discourse is both internal and external. It is ratio vel oratio : rea. son or speech. Considered in the first point of view, wisdom is the support of reason, and the Holy Spirit is the wisdom of God. 6. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, &c.,” Luke xi, 49. Considered in the latter point of view, breath is the support of speech : and the Son spake by the Holy Spirit or breath. Through the Holy Ghost he gave commandments unto the apostles," Acts i, 2. Hence when the Father, whom no man hath known, sent the Word to declare him, he sent upon him, for that purpose, the Spirit without measure.

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5. The last analogy which we shall examine, and that which is most generally referred to in Scripture, is that of the Father, the Son, and one who, sent by the Father and the Son is, on account of the offices which he sus. tains, called the Comforter. The allusions by which this distinction is made are very obvious. We have a sufficiently clear idea of the relation of a son to a father. We equally understand what it is for one to be sent by a second, in the name of a third, to execute the purposes of both. Such are the mission, and the circum. stances of the mission, of the Holy Spirit.

Let any one read without prejudice the following passages, and make his mind as to the nature of the distinction which is there made between the three. 6 I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter." “ But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, ekelvos, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” 6. When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, EKELVOS, he shall testify of me.” "I have yet many things to say unto you,


cannot bear them now. Howbeit when Ekelvos, he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he shall show you things to come. Ekelvos he shall glorify me ; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.

Every one who reads these verses will acknowledge that the distinction here made is the distinction of three persons. Mr. G. himself has granted it. While he uni. formly acknowledges a personal distinction between the Father and the Son, of the Spirit he even says, “ It would have been next to an impossibility not to have repeatedly personified this divine influence.” (Vol. i, p. 173.) This is all that at present we ask. It is enough that the Soci. nians themselves authorize us thus to denominate the ideas which, by these forms of speech, are conveyed. Let it then be clearly understood that precisely in this sense we make use of the word person and its derivatives; viz., to fix an idea which, in the use of the same terms, equally strikes the mind of a Socinian and of a Christian

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