Imatges de pÓgina

common use.

be subdued, and that faith rest in an appropriate, theological implicitly on the testimony of sense. And why is not the use God. On this account men, of technical terms as allowable who are governed by a proud and important in theology, as is conceit of their own understand- any other science ? In the arts ing, or by the principles of core and sciences, instead of making rupt philosophy, bestir them- new words to express every idea, selves to overwhelin it with in- words are frequently taken from famy or contempt. It is any de- common language, and used in sign in this number to give a scientific or technical mana specimen of their misrepresen- ner. And it is understood, tations of the doctrine, and their that whenever such words are inisapplication of scripture ia op- employed with reference to the posing it.

arts and sciences, they conThe capital misrepresentation vey a meaning different from of the doctrine of the Trinity, what they previously bore in which I shall notice, is, that it

Now because in implies polyiheism, or asserts the common language thrce persons existence of three Gods, and that signifies three men, it cannot be it contains a palpable contradic- inferred, that three persons, when tion or absurdity, by asserting applied to the divine nature, that these three are one.

signifies three Gods. Whatever The charge of pay & eism is the term persons may signify, wholly groundless, because cor- when applied to men, in its rect Trinitarians do not affirm, theological sense it must always either directly or indirectly, that be understood to denote a kind of there are three Gods. Their be- plurality, which is perfectly conlief is, that in the mode of the sistent with the proper unity of divine existence there is a foun- God. The FATHER, the WORD, dation for a personal distinction; and the SPIRIT are three ; not or in other words, that the Su• three Gods, but as Trinitarians preme Being exists in three per- are accustomed to speak, three sons, the FATHER, the son, and persons, the word being used to the HOLY GHOST. The nature signify the indescribable and inof this personal distinction they comprehensible distinction bepretend not to describe. The tween the Father, Son, and Spiridea, that it resembles the dise it in the unity of the Godhead. tinction among human persons, Accordingly Trinitarians adopt is by no means admitted, As the plainest and most forcible the distinction is peculiar to the construction of all those scrips existence of Jehovah, and is tures, whicle assert the oneness founded in his infinite perfection, or unity of the Supreme Being. it is deemed absurd to borrow 6 The Lord our God is one any similitudes from other be- Lord," means as much upon the ings in order to explain it. To Trinitarian, as upon the Antidesignate the distinction briefly trinitarian scheme. and conveniently, the term, per- When, therefore, the opposons, is adopted. The term, sers of the scripture doctrine of however, is not used according the Trinity bring against it the to its common acceptation, but charge of polytheism, and say

that it makes three Gods, let his own perfections, & has deignChristians mark well the charge, ed in mercy to give us needed and remember that it is a mis- instruction. In his word we find representation highly injurious that distinct personal agency and to the Trinitarian scheme. For all divine perfections are ascribed peither do the advocates of the to the FATHER, and to the Son, doctrine believe, nor does the and to the Holy Spirit, and doctrine itself indicate, that there thus we are taught, that the one are, in heaven or in earth, more living and true God is, in a mysGods than one.

terious manner, triune, or cxists Tlie other part of the misrep- in a Trinity. Like all other resentation is, that the doctrine truths respecting God, it is inof the Trinity contains a palpable comprehensible, and like many contradiction or absurdity, by as- others it is wholly inexplicable ; serting that three are one. It is but who can say, that it involves conceded, that any doctrine, an absurdity? which contains a real contradic- Beware then, Christian churchtion, is contrary to the dictates of es, of all attempts to expose, desound reason, and ought to be preciate, or obliterate from your exploded. A proposition, which creed, this sacred tenet of Chrisinvolves an absurdity, cannottianity. It is the basis of revealpossibly be true. If the doc, ed religion. Your dependence, trine of the Trinity implied, that your a!" ans, and your worJehovah is three in the same ship must be indissolubly conrespect in which he is one ; in nected with your sentiments on other words, if the doctrine im- this fundamental point. When plied, that three persons are one they, who arrogate to themselves person, or three Deities one Deity, the name of Unitarians, use their it would be a plain contradiction, genius and science to undermine and must be instantly rejected. this truth, be assured their But the doctrine involves no con- science is “ falsely so called," tradiction, because it does not and their genius is kindled by an assert that God is three and one unnallowed fire. Your attentive in the same sense. Trinity is minds will easily observe, how ascribed to God as to personali. earnestly they wish to diminish ty, and unity as to divine essence. your reverence for the holy Now surely there is no contradic. Scriptures, and how decidedly tion in saying, that a Being, who they prefer an appeal to the is three in one respect, is one in oracles of human reason, before another. But we pretend not to an appeal to the oracles of God. give any adequate description of The argument which they most the difference between divine violently urge against the Trinipersonality and divine essence. ty, appears, on careful inquiry, to We acknowledge our incapacity be a manifest misrepresentation. to understand, or by any terms Yet to this misrepresentation is whatever to express, the precise to be chiefly ascribed the inmanner, in which the Trinity fluence which they have gained subsists in perfect divine unity in the world. Take heed, then, Our faith rests on the authority lest any man deceive you. Be of God, who cannot lie. He knows alarmed at the presumption of those who practically affirm, that that work, was an assumed charthe human understanding is acter. This, they believe, agrees more competent to determine with the Christian scriptures, on the mysteries of the divine which explicitly teach, that he nature, than the infinite wisdom who was rich became poor ; that of God. Consider how danger, he who was in the form of God, ous to the souls of men is the and thought it not robbery to be prevalence of those principles, equal with God, made himself of which cover unyielding pride of no reputation, and was found in heart and consequent alienation fashion as a man ; that he who from genuine scriptural divinity, was Lord of all, became a ser: and which evidently lead on to vant; in short, that the eternal avowed apostasy from all religion. Son of God, for the purpose of

It is with grief I make the redemption, united human naadditional observation, that Sor ture to his divine nature, and so, cinians have been much aided in an incomprehensible manner, and supported in their practice of became God and man in one permisrepresentation, by the false son. Thus he was qualified to theories which some professed sustain every office which must Trinitarians have adopted, and belong to a Redeemer. In his by the various hypotheses which assumed character he became an have been devised, and the vain atoning priest, a prophet, a ser, attempts, which have for many vant, a mediator. In all the offiages been made, to explain the ces which he executes in the mode of the divine existence. work of redemption, he is subor

But this species of misrepre- dinate to the Father, and in his sentation is not the only instru- human nature entirely dependment, which Unitarians employ ent. Hence the propriety of against the doctrine of the those scriptures, which represent Trinity. We cannot, without him as sent by the Father, as solemn reprehension, notice their praying to him and assisted by manner of explaining and apply- him, as performing the actions ing holy writ. One grand mis- of a man, obeying, suffering, &c. application with which we charge. And considering that his work them is, that they collect together on earth required him to appear those scriptures, which speak of an and act wholly in his assumed inferiority of the Son to the Fath- character, it is easily accounted er, and urge them as direct argu- for, that his humanity and his menis against Trinitarians. This, official inferiority are so often we contend, is neither just nor presented to view. But although pertinent, unless Trinitarians the New Testament so frequent, hold, that the character of a di- ly exhibits Christ in his official vine person is the only character and subordinate character, it does which Christ sustains. But this not conceal his high original, but is not their creed. They ap- declares, in the plainest and most prehend that the Son of God, in emphatical language, his eternal his original divine character, was power and Godhead. Now if not qualified for the work of a the scriptures never spoke of Redeemer, and therefore that the Christ, except in his human or character which was suited to official character, or if it were

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impossible for a person truly di- his manhood, as it is to argue vine to assume and sustain a from passages asserting his character of inferior dignity ; or, manhood, against the doctrine of to use different words, if it were his Deity. Both these methods absolutely necessary, that the of reasoning are antiscriptural, character of Christ the Saviour and totally inconclusive. should consist either of mere Keeping these observations in Deily or of mere humanity ; then mind, let us attend to a few of the it would be sound reasoning to particular passages which Socinurge those scriptures, which ians urge against the Trinity. speak of Christ's inferiority to In Deut. xviii. 18, is the the Father, as arguments against following prediction of Christ. his equality, and those which “ I will raise them up a prophet speak of his humanity, as argu- from among their brethren like ments against his divinity. But unto thee, and will put my words the fact is, Christ sustains charac- in his mouth ; and he shall speak ters and offices exceedingly va- unto them all that I command rious, and so a foundation is laid him.” “Here,” says a learned for the variety of manner, in Unitarian, “ is nothing like a secwhich the scriptures speak of ond person in the Trinity, a perhim with reference to those offi- son equal to the Father, but a ces. At one time he is repre. mere prophet, delivering in the sented as the creator and up- name of God whatever he is holder of all things in heaven and ordered so to do.” earth; at another time, as a - Reply. If Trinitarians denied, seeble infant. At one time he is that Christ sustains any character described as the supreme king; but that of a divine person, this at another, as the servant of reasoning would be valid. But worms. At one time he is rep- as they do not, where is its force ? resented, as immortal, having life “Much in the same manner in bimself; at another time, he might those, who never saw Daexpires on the cross, and is laid vid till he was ascending Mount in a sepulchre. Such various Olivet, weeping, with his head and widely distant characteristics uncovered, and barefoot, say, here belong to the same person ;-a is nothing like the king of Israel. person, bowever, executing dif- Jesus says to his disciples, Lo, I ferent offices, and uniting differ- am among you as one that serveth. ent natures. These things are With equal propriety might it be tanght in the word of God. It argued from these words, that is the part of faith to receive he could be in no respect supethem. And there is no more rior to his disciples, because here propriety in arguing from the is nothing like superiority! The official inferiority of the Son words of God by Moses will against his equality, than there equally prove that Christ is not a would be in arguing from original priest or a king, as that he is not equality against his inferiority. a divine person, because he is It would appear as correct not here mentioned under any of Teasoning, to argue from those these characters.” passages which assert, that Christ The prophets predict, and the is God, against the doctrine of evangelists narrate the Alessiah's


sufferings and death. These, it is

These, it is in these scriptures he speaks of said, are characters, not of God, himself as the Son of man. But but of a man.

his being the Son of man was Reply. Sufferings and death the consequence of his bumiliaundoubtedly belong to Christ, as tion. He took upon him the form man. It was in his human na- of a servant, and in his whole ture only, that he was capable of mediatorial work on earth, he them. But we cannot thence in was a servant, and acted as a serfer that he is not God, unless it vant. With reference to his diappear that sufferings and death vine nature, he makes very difwere the sublimest traits in his ferent declarations. character. According to the rea- Churches of Christ, these resoning now under consideration, marks are made to fortify you we might infer from those scrip- against the seductive influence of tures which declare Christ to be those, who deny the sacred Trinthe Creator of the world, that he ity. Let me state it as a maxim is nothing but Creator.

to be constantly kept in rememMany scriptures represent brance, that we are not to deterChrist as praying to the Father, mine the character of Christ from which is inconsistent with his be a few detached passages, but from ing God.

the tenor of scripture, or from a Reply. This objection proves connected view of all those pas. nothing against the Trinity, if it sages which relate to him. Unibe possible, that a divine person tarians have written in their should voluntarily assume hu- books, and will repeat to you man nature, and in that nature with an air of infallible wisdom, be the subject of those graces that Christ cannot be God, beand perform those duties which cause he is called the Son of belong to man. Is Christ's pray. man ; because he said, I can do ing a certain proof that he is not nothing of myself ; because he God? Why is not bis being the was sent by the Father, acknowl. object of prayer to his disciples edged that is father was greatan equal proof that he is not er than he, &c. You will not

fail to consider it an essential John v. 20. I can of my own self gospel truth, that Christ, in the do nothing. Mark xiii. 32. Of that work of redemption, is subordiday and that hour knoweth no nate to the Father ; that, in the man, no, not the angels which are official character which he sus. in heaven, nor the Son, but the Fa- tains, as High Priest, Mediator, ther. John vi. 57. As the Fa- &c. he is dependent on the Father hath sent me, and I live by ther, prays to him, serves him, the Father ; so he that cateth me, suffers, and dies. But let it nev. even he shall live by me. Here er be ungratefully forgotten, that Christ disclaims underived pow. all this is the effect of his voluner, omniscience, and self-exist. tary humiliation. Had he not ence.

consented in love to sinners, Reply. All this is true of to be made in the likeness Christ, in that nature which he of men, to assume the form assumed, and that character of a servant, to become poor, to which he sustained as Mediator. be a despised, suffering, dying

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