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phen says, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." The record which the Word bears in heaven, is likewise mentioned in the ninth chapter of Acts. We are informed there, that as Saul journeyed to Damascus, to execute his persecuting intentions, "suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven;" and when he had fallen "to the earth, he heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." The meaning of his communication, evidently, is, "You are opposing an infinitely glorious Being; and destroying an important cause." The Word bears a farther testimony to his own proper Deity, by proclaiming in the hearing of St. John, with a voice like the sound of a trumpet, "I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last"-"I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Rev. 1. 2, 18.
The record which the Holy Ghost bears to the Deity of Christ, is also clearly stated in the Scriptures. This was done in his descending in the form of a dove, and resting on the head of Jesus. In respect to this, John the Baptist, testifies," I saw the Spirit descending like a dove, and it abode upon him." The Holy Ghost bore a farther testimony from heaven, in favor of the Deity and atonement of Christ, on the day of Pentecost, by filling the house, where his apostles were sitting, with " a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind ;" and resting on their heads, as cloven tongues of fire. Acts 2. 2, 3. By his A mighty operations, they were all inspired to pro vation through Jesus Christ, to mankind. bearing record from heaven, by awakenin sanctifying and sealing the souls of mer
I JOHN, V. 7.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are
In the preceding discourse, this text was very particularly explained, in conformity with the first head of the grand division. We have also passed through a part of the second head, in showing the agreement of this disputed passage with the Scriptures in general. Under the last mentioned division, it was evinced,
1. That the Old Testament and the New, unite in declaring with 1 John 5. 7, that there are three in heaven, bearing the names of the Father, of the Word, or Son, and of the Holy Ghost. It was likewise shown,
2. In part, that the Scriptures at large agree, that the glorious three in heaven unite in witnessing to the divinity and atonement of the Word, and to the salvation of believers through his powerful intercession.
The way is now prepared to proceed with a farther illustration of this general head of the interesting subject.
3. Is it said in our text, that the three who bear record in heaven, are one?" This is the united voice of all the sacred writings.
The unity of God is an established doctrine in the inspired volume, and is a dictate of natural as well as revealed religion. It is said in the writings of Moses, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Deut. 6. 4. The great Jehovah saith, by Isaiah his prophet, "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me." Isa. 45. 5. This doctrine is clearly revealed in the Old Testament, from the commencement to the close. The New Testament exhibits the same important truth, with equal perspicuity. St. Paul, in his epistles, says, "To us there is but one God." 1 Cor. 8. 6. Again; "For there is one God. 1 Tim. 2. 5. In Gal. 3. 20, he says also, God is one."
More testimony on this head, is unnecessary; and we rejoice to find, that it has been the settled belief of pious and well informed minds, in all periods of time. In connexion with what has been said, we argue, If the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, possess, each, underived existence, independence and unlimited perfections, it will necessarily follow that they are the same in essence, and one God. The unity of the Divine essence, and the Trinity of persons in God, are doctrines, revealed without any obscurity in the lively oracles of heaven.
Is it said in 1 John 5. 7,-"These three are one?" the Lord Jesus Christ himself, uses the same phraseology in John 10. 30; "I and my Father are one.” He assures us in the 14th chapter of the same book, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." "I am in the Father, and the Father in me."
In the 1st chap. and 18th verse, it is said, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
As it is asserted, that "no man hath seen God at any time;" it must be the Father who is meant; for, all who
are conversant with the sacred writings, must know, that the God of Israel had often appeared unto men.
In this view of the case, we may clearly perceive, that it was Christ who said unto Abraham, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." In John 1. 18. it is solemnly denied that any man had ever seen the Father; but in Gen. 17. 1, it is clearly stated, " And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared unto Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God." Christ, therefore, must be the Almighty God, on the fairest principles of reasoning. This being admitted, irresistibly proves that he is one with the Father in essence, as well as testimony; which is the very doctrine contained in the text under consideration. If the Father and the Word, are two distinct Persons, in one simple essence, it is easy to see, that the Holy Ghost may also be a Person, in the same undivided Godhead. He is certainly ranked with the Father and the Word, in 1 John 5. 7, as a distinct agent, but of the same substance, and equal in perfections and glory:—and with this statement, all Scripture agrees.
The opposers of the Trinity profess to believe, that the Spirit is not a distinct Person in God, but is either one of the names of the Father, or else, merely one of his perfections or operations. But if their sentiment be correct, how shall we understand the commission which Christ gave to his ministers respecting baptism? It must be understood in this sense, "You shall baptize your proselytes in the name of the Father, who is truly God, and in the name of the Son, who is a mere creature: and again, either in the name of the Father, or else, in the name of one of his attributes or operations. According to this doctrine, the same inconsistency and tautology is embraced in the apostle's benediction, with which divine worship is closed in all our congregations.