Imatges de pÓgina

vindicate the propriety of the phraseology, by using the same weapons against both. The cause of truth would not have stood on a firmer basis, if the technical terms of the schools had turned out to be those of Christ and his apostles. To the word trinity, it would then be objected that it does not convey the idea of three persons. To the phrase trinity in unity, that it may express a threefold distinction in one being, very different from the personal distinction which Trinitarians maintain. Had the apostles spoken of three persons in one God, it would have been represented that these words, literally understood, sug. gest a contradiction ; that three persons are three beings; that three beings cannot subsist in one being ; and that therefore the language of the writer must be understood as. « highly figurative. If the sacred writers had applied to Jesus Christ the scholastic appellation “God the Son,” it would have been very shrewdly observed that the word Son indicates a subordinate relation, and that therefore the phrase is a denial, rather than an assertion of his supreme godhead. And lastly, Had the phrase God the Holy Ghost been used in Scripture, to any argument founded upon it, it could easily have been answered, either, first, that this is a rhetorical figure, by which only the abstract power, energy, or operation of God is meant : in proof of which the following passage would be cited,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee :" or, second, that by this periphrasis God simply is meant; for “God is a Spi. rit," and he is a Holy Spirit. “By God the Holy Ghost, therefore, is meant, God who is a Holy Spirit.” At this rate no terms of human invention will serve to silence a thorough Unitarian. But Mr. G. knows that, if the plain, direct, and obvious meaning of the sacred writers be allowed to be their true meaning, the doctrine of the preceding pages will want no scholastic terms for its support.

Having shown that the language of sacred Scripture is such as sufficiently accounts for the origin of the Trini. tarian doctrines, it is not very necessary to seek their origin in the volumes of ecclesiastical history. After this, to enter with the Socinians into a discussion of the opis nions of the early Christians cannot justly be demanded;

and, if not done with caution, would be to betray the cause of truth, by removing it from its proper foundation. In this discussion the question is, What is the doctrine of the Old and of the New Testament? The sacred writers lie open to all; whereas the Christian fathers are known to comparatively few. Hence an appeal to the former may be generally considered in the light of an argument which carries conviction to every honest mind; but an appeal to the latter is, in most cases, little better than a naked assertion, to ascertain the truth of which, the reader must depend on the judgment and integrity of the writer. The former are incomparably the best authorities. Their credit is justly established on the basis of divine inspiration; while that of the latter is often at the best but dubious. The first age of the Christian church produced but few writers whose works have descended with unquestionable proof of their genuineness; and of those few none have written professedly on the subjects now under discussion. The consequence is, that little satisfaction is to be derived from their testimony; and every man feels himself at

; liberty to accommodate their language to his own precona ceived opinion. This fact is confirmed by Mr. G.'s lectures, in which, to prove that the mere humanity of Sesus Christ was maintained by them, he has been able only to cull a few passages such as the writings of any modern Trinitarian would plentifully afford to prove that they believed his proper humanity : in which he has cited certain expressions indicative of the distinction and rela. tion between the Father and the Son, such as Athanasius himself would not have rejected :* but in which he has exhibited from those fathers nothing which has the most distant appearance of a denial of supreme divinity to Jesus Christ. The few passages of those early writers, which give countenance to a doctrine on wbich they were not professedly writing, either are torn in pieces on the rack of criticism, or, because other passages of a similar kind have been interpolated, are cancelled as interpola. tions. If the Scriptures themselves do not afford satis factory evidence of the doctrines which they contain, the

* The answers already given to his citations from Scripture on the humanity of Christ are equally applicable to those from the Christian fathers.


case is therefore desperate. When we descend to later ages, we meet with writers enow on these subjects ; but their testimony is not admitted because they were not the immediate disciples of the apostles. But if their testi. mony were admitted, and their scholastic terms were canonized, the men who can set aside the testimony of the apostles, and make the more appropriate terms of Scripture speak their own language, can, with equal ease, enlist the metaphysical fathers of the fourth century under the banner of Socinus, and convert the Nicene and even the Athanasian creed into evidence in favour of their cause, But if we, on the other hand, could defend the doctrines of the trinity by lucid and appropriate quotations drawn from the writings of all the Christian fathers from Cle. ment to Athanasius, unless we could prove them from Christ and his apostles, all our authors must rank in the list of heretics.

These reasons for not resting the question on any but scriptural authority may suffice. It is not designed, how. ever, to insinuate that the primitive church was either Unitarian or neutral. While we distinguish between the words of human wisdom and the truth of God, we may have sufficient proof that the primitive church was what we call Trinitarian.

Clemens, bishop of Rome, was an eminent Christian writer of the first century, and one who had conversed with the apostles. Mr. G. has quoted from him the prin. cipal passages, among which are the following :-1. One in which he calls Jesus the Son of God: “ Thus saith the Lord, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Vol. ii, p. 47.) 2. Another, in which, speaking of Ja. cob, he says,

“ From him (sprang) the Lord Jesus according to the flesh :” (vol. ii

, p. 48 :) words which, without a Socinian comment, imply that in another respect Jesus Christ did not spring from Jacob. This scriptural phrase (according to the flesh) indicates that Jesus Christ was not merely human : for, (1.) Where is it applied in a similar manner to any mere man ? (2.) In the above passage Clemens speaks of the priests and Levites as springing from Jacob; but does not add, as in the case of our Lord, “ according to the flesh.” (3.) St. Paul has pointed out the true sense of this phrase in that antithesis

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in which he says, “ Jesus Christ was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh; but the Son of God, ac. cording to the Spirit of holiness," Rom. i, 3, 4. 3. A third, in which, speaking of Jesus Christ, he says, “ He came not in the pomp of pride and arrogance, although he had it in his power, but in humility.” · More ancient copies, (those which Jerome used,) instead of kaltep duvauEVOS, although he had it in his power,' had kaltep Tavra duvauevos, although he had all things in his power. The δυναμενος, expressions clearly imply that, ere he came, he had the power to choose, and that all things were in his power :" (Horsley's Letters, p. 131:) i. e., both his pre-existence and his omnipotence.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was a disciple and familar friend of the apostles. His short epistles are replete with testimonies of the pre-existence and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is not necessary for us to attempt a vindica. tion of their genuineness against the cavils of Socinians. The reader may consult, on this subject, Dr. Horsley's Letters to Dr. Priestley. If those epistles are not genu. ine, they cannot be produced against us. If they are genuine, they are evidence in our favour. The following passages may suffice to illustrate their general tenor :1. On the pre-existence of Christ : 6 Who was with the Father before all ages, and appeared at the end of the world.” (Ad. Mag. sec. 5.) 2. On the twofold nature of Christ : “ Of the race of David, according to the flesh, but the Son of God, according to the will and power of God.” (Ad. Smyr. sec. 5.) 3. Of the divinity of Christ : “ I glo. rify God, even Jesus Christ.” (Ad. Smyr. sec. 1.) 4. Of the worship of Christ : “ Pray to Christ for me, that by the beasts I may be found a sacrifice to God.” (Ad. Rom. sec. 4.) 5. Of the trinity : “ Be ye strengthened in the concord of God, enjoying his inseparable Spirit, which is Jesus Christ." (Ad Mag. sec. 13.)

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John In his epistle to the Philippians, speaking of Jesus Christ,

“ Whom every living creature shall worship." (Sec. 2.) The following passage, in which he prays to Jesus Christ, and calls him “ the Son of God,” (a term which, as we have shown, indicated a divine person,) is quoted by Mr. G.: “ The Son of God, Jesus Christ,


he says,

He says,

build you up in faith," &c. (Epist. to Phil. sec. 12.) “ When he was at the stake, he finished his prayer with these words :— For this, and for all other things, I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify thee, by the eternal and heavenly high priest, Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son ; with whom, to thee, and to the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all succeeding ages. Amen." (Martyr. of Polycarp, sec. 14.) Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, was a disciple of Polycarp.

“We show that the Word, existing in the be. ginning with God, united himself to the work of his own hands, when he became a man capable of suffering." (Lib. iii, cap. 20.) Again : "To this purpose our Lord came to us, not so as he might have come, but so as we might be able to behold him; for he might have come to us in his own unspeakable glory, but we should not have been able to endure the magnitude of his glory." (Adv. Hæret. lib. iv, cap. 74.) “ The Scripture (says he) is full of the Son of God's appearing, sometimes to talk and eat with Abraham ; at another time to seek Adam ; at another time to bring down judgment upon Sodom ; then again to direct Jacob in the way; and again to con. verse with Moses out of the bush.'

(Lib. iv, cap. 23.) “ The Father of our Lord Jesus manifests and reveals himself to all, to whom he is at all revealed, by his Word, who is his Son. For they know the Father, to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Now the Son, co-existing always with the Father, reveals the Father of old, even always from the beginning, to angels and archangels, and powers and dominions, and to men." (Lib. ii, cap. 55.) He adds, “Every knee should bow to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the good pleasure of the invisible Father.” (Lib. i, cap. 2.) “ The Father, by his own Word and Spirit, makes, governs, and gives being to all things." (Lib. i, cap. 22, sec. 1.) “ For his. Word and his Wisdom, the Son and the Holy Spirit are always with him ; by whom and with whom he made all things freely, and of his own accord, to whom he also spake in these words, Let us make man in our image and likeness." (Lib. i, cap. 37.)

Justin Martyr, a Christian apologist, wrote about the year 140. He


66 But the Son of the Father, even he

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