Imatges de pÓgina

perceive that to give some degree of plausibility to the supposition that the doctrines in question have no support from Scripture, this Socinian herald has adopted the contrivance of his predecessors, by substituting the peculiar phrases of human invention for the doctrines taught by divine revelation.

Without any implied censure on those who deem it their duty to vindicate the phrases to which Mr. G, has object. ed, and who think themselves adequate to the task, through. out the whole of this discussion no vindication of any set of phrases, except those of Scripture, has been attempted. Lest the truth of God should be exposed to contempt by being identified with the inventions of men, it has been de.. signed to extract from the Scriptures the genuine Christian doctrine, as much as may be, in the language of the sacred writers: to “speak of spiritual things in spiritual words," and to leave the judicious reader at liberty to make choice of what he deems the most appropriate terms. The con. test is not on our part about words, but things. When, therefore, Mr. G. speaks of “this phraseology," as being thought “80 essential to salvation," whom does his arguing reprove? (Vol. ii, p. 9.) When he triumphantly asks,“ Should one of your missionaries, whether to the east or the west, preach one single year,

make one single convert, publish one single book upon the doctrines he was sent to teach, and not once mention his important subject, (in the phraseology so strongly objected to,) how would you think he had executed his commission ?" (vol. ii, p. 8, we are under no difficulty; for we readily and sincerely answer that we should not, on this ac. count, as Mr. G. supposes,

designate him a faithless servant, who had neglected his duty, and had conceal. ed the word of God.” “The phraseology" of the schools

“ is not the word of God, but the word of man. And if he had not shunned to declare all the counsel of God,” but had “ fully preached” the “unadulterated” gospel : if he had been successful in making converts (not So. cinian converts, converts to a mere opinion, but) such as St. Paul was sent to make: if he had “turned men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among all them that are sanctified through

[ocr errors]



faith in Christ Jesus;" we should approve his labours and rejoice in his success.*

The Socinians themselves use many phrases which are not strictly scriptural: but they are not to be “made offenders for a word.” If, in the language of Scripture, they can vindicate their metaphysical explanation of that truth, “ there is one God," they are perfectly at liberty to use the phrase, “ the unity of God.” If they can thus prove

that Jesus Christ is no other than a man, they will not be forbidden to insert in their creed the words « sim.. ple humanity.” And if they can demonstrate, from the same source, that the Holy Spirit is only the abstract power of God, we will hold no contest with them on ac. count of their denominating him the divine energy,

an attribute of God.” We will leave the “ strife of words” to those who admire and love it. What is there then unreasonable in our conduct if, while we believe the doctrine of the preceding chapters to be the doctrine of the Bible, we find it convenient to avoid circumlocution, by expressing our opinion in such terms as, we are aware, are not used by the sacred writers ?

Having thus replied to the insidious insinuation of Mr. G.'s summons, we now declare more directly that no force which he has at his command shall cause us to sur.. render the strong fortress of Scripture authority. Let him, “ walk about our Zion, and go around about her;" let him “ tell her towers, mark well her bulwarks, and consider her palaces."

Having, in the four preceding chapters, stated our opi. nion of the doctrines under discussion, and having exhi..

[ocr errors]

*“I dare not,” says the Rev. John Wesley, “insist upon any cne's using the word trinity or person. I use them myself without any scruple, because I know of none better. But if any man has any scruple concerning them, who shall constrain him to use them?, I cannot; much less would I burn a man alive, and that with moist, green wood, for saying, 'Though I believe the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, yet I scruple using the words trinity and persons, because I do not find those terms in the Bible.'"-(Sermons, vol. ii, p. 21.),

The Rev. John Fletcher says, in like manner, "If by renouncing. that comprehensive word (trinity) we could remove the prejudices of deists against the truth contended for, we would give it up, and always say, The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is what we mean by the trinity."-(Rat. Vin. of the Cath. Faith.)

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

bited and established what we deem the most direct and positive proofs that that opinion is scriptural, we are now to show that those doctrines, so far from being, as Mr. G. holds, the invention of latter ages, have been gradually discovered from the dawn of divine revelation to the perfeot day. This argument does not rest on any single text, but on the general tenor of Scripture.

“ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Gen. i, 1. “ The original word d'obe, Elohim, God, is certainly the plural form of 58, el, or abs, eloah." (Dr. A. Clarke, in loc.) And therefore indicates to a Hebrew reader a plurality.

6 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," Gen. i, 26. The use of the plural pronouns in this passage is a confirmation of the inference deduced from the preceding; and the pronouns, being personal, convey the idea of personality as well as of plurality.

It does not appear that any created beings were em. ployed in the creation of man ; but it is unequivocally declared that Elohim, “God created man in his (own) image,” Gen. i, 27.

When man was fallen from his original rectitude, “the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us,” Gen. iii, 22. This distributive manner of speaking indicates that the distinction already made is not merely verbal, but real.

When the Lord God cursed the author of the sin of our first parents, and promised them deliverance, he promised that deliverance by one who should be their seed. “ I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and be. tween thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," Gen. iii, 15.

Of the fulfilment of this great promise, God gave fre- . quent pledges, by the appearance of a divine person to the patriarchs, and to the Jewish chiefs. This person at first appeared under the human form; but before his depar. ture, his divinity was generally known and acknowledged by those to whom he appeared, and with whom he con. versed. By being denominated the Word, or the Angel of Jehovah, or the Captain of Jehovah's host, the distinc. tion already discovered is exhibited; but by being also styled Jehovah, his divinity is maintained.


“ The Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” This Word of the Lord, Abram addressed as Jehovah : 6 And Abram said, Jehovah, God,” &c., Gen. xv, 1, 2. Compare also verses 4, 7, 8, 18.

“ Jehovah appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. As Abraham sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him," Gen. xviii, 1, 2. One of these is called Jehovah : “ And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh ?

Of these men two proceeded toward Sodom. Compare Gen, xviii, 22; xix, 1. But the one who was called Je. hovah remained and communed with Abraham. Of him it is related : “ And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do ?" Gen. xviii, 17. “And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great," &c., verse 20; see also verses, 22, 26, &c. In the next chapter, still keeping up the distinction which we have observed, and yet maintaining the proper divi. nity of him who destroyed the devoted cities, it is said, 6. Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven," Gen. xix, 24.

“ And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offer. ing upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of," Gen. xxii, 1, 2. When Abraham had perfectly manifested, his faith and obedience, “the angel of Jehovah (or the Angel Jehovah) called unto him out of heaven, and said, Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me,” Gen. xxii, 12. Here we see that the Angel Jehovah was the “God” who “ did tempt Abraham.”

It is still more remarkable that, on this occasion, the “ Angel Jehovah,” who had required Abraham to offer up his son, and to offer him up to himself, as to God, “ called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah; he could swear

by no greater ;) for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son : that in blessing I will bless thee, because thou hast obeyed my voice," Gen. xxii, 15–18. Here we see that the angel who appeared to Abraham was the God who commanded this sacrifice ; to whom it was in purpose offered; who accepted it as offered to himself; who made the great promise to Abraham ; and who sware by himself: in a word, Jehovah.

“ The angel of God spake unto Jacob in a dream, saying, Jacob.

And he said, I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me,” Gen. xxxi, 11, 13. Now the God of Be. thel is he of whom it is said, “ And behold Jehovah stood above it (the mysterious ladder) and said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac," Gen. xxviii, 13. And the vow which Jacob vowed to him was this : “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and rai. ment to put on so that I come again to my father's house in peace: then shall Jehovah be my God. And this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house : and of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee," Gen. xxviii, 20, 22. To Jacob, therefore, it was obvious that “the angel of God” was Jehovah, God himself.

When Jacob was returning to his father's house, he “ was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day,” When this man had put forth his power, and by a touch had disjointed Jacob's thigh, Jacob discerned his divine visitant, and said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel ; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name : and he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel : for I have seen God face to face, (said he,) and my life is preserved," Gen. xxxii, 24–30. Whatever others may think, it was obvious to Jacob that this man was no other than God himself.


« AnteriorContinua »