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istence, and the glory of his attributes. But when man apostatized from God by sin, and his mind became darkened, and his affections became alienated from Him, it became necessary in due time for God to make a more perfect revelation of himself, his mind, and will to man, which he hath done in his written Word, commonly called the scriptures of the old and new testament, and which is our only rule of faith and practice.
Therefore-when we take a view of the revelation which God hath made of himself to the children of men, in creation and providence, in his written Word, and by his Divine Spirit, we are under the highest obligation to acknowledge, that there is one supreme, eternal, self-existent, and independent being—who exists by no cause than himself—and that this being is a spirit, whom we call God-and that he
what we call infinite attributes, such as power, wisdom, justice, goodness and truth. So far we are all Unitarians. And when we look at the existence of God, and the glory of his perfections displayed in creation and providence alone, we are in this all Unitarians. For, saith St. James, “thou believest there is one God; thou dost well.” But as to the further displays of his glorious perfections, the mode of his existence, and the wonders he hath wrought for man's redemption, in these we may differ; these points ought to be decided by the revelation which God hath made of himself, in the sacred oracles which he hath given us for our rule of faith and practice.
Moses, the oldest writer of this sacred book, we think has given us the strongest intimations, if not amounting to a firm declaration, that in this divine and eternal fountain, whom we call God,
there exists more subsistencies, or persons, than one. The word, Elohim, which Moses uses twenty times in the first and second chapters of Genesis, from which we translate the word God, this word Elohim, we think we may rely upon it, is in the plural, and not in the singular number. The very learned doctor Adam Clark, in his commentary on this chapter, informs us, that the christians are not the only people that acknowledge the doctrine of the Trinity, so called ; but that the Jews had the same view of the word Elohim, above cited; for, saith he,“ an eminent Jewish Rabbin, Simeon Ben Joachi, in his comment on the sixth section of Leviticus, has these remarkable words—"come and see the mystery of the word, Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other." And we have further proof of the word Elohim, being in the plural, if we look at the twenty-second verse of the third chapter; when man had unhappily eaten of the forbidden fruit, and consequently apostatized from God, the “ Lord God” said, "behold the man is become as one of us;" and also, in the first chapter and twenty-sixth verse, 6 and God said,” that is, Elohim said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion," &c.
There is one thing to be observed on this subject, which deserves in connection our highest attention, which is, the then situation of the world at large, and especially the nations that were round about the Jews, at the time that Moses wrote this book. The Egyptians, for instance, the people whom God had just chastised with the most severe judgments for their gross idolatries and impieties. And, the Canaanitish nations, who were, (as it were) on their right hand and on their left hand, were sunk into the most degraded state that human nature ever was debased, the Sodomites scarcely excepted. The origin of this debasement, and one of the most fatal causes of this degeneracy, undoubtedly was, the loss of the knowledge of the true God; consequently there never was, perhaps, a time when the knowledge of the true God was more necessary. Under these existing circumstances, that a learned man like Moses, a chosen vessel, divinely commissioned, and who “conversed with God face to face,” as a man talketh with a friend, should indite and propagate a false doctrine, we consider is hardly conceivable; that expressly delegated, as he was, to lead God's peculiar people out from idolatry into a knowledge of the true God, that he should have laid as dangerous a foundation for idolatry as we could possibly imagine, by intimating to us, that in the divine nature there is more than one subsistence or persons, when it was not a fact, is a conclusion, which we think should not gain ready belief. To believe that God exists in a very different mode from what he really does, and especially to believe that God is more than one person, when in reality he is but one, must at least be idolatry. But we have further intimations of this doctrine in the writings of Moses, as also, in all the writings of the old testament.
Of the first promise of the Messiah--the presumption that he
must be more than a created being, drawn from the beauty, perfections and excellency of man's primeval capacity, state and condition, and physical creation generally-from man's apostacy-the judgment rendered and sentence proclaimal, by the “ Judge of all he earth”-the hope and promise of pardon through a Messiah he then gave, and subsequently caused to be promulgated-confirmation to Abraham and other patriarchs, to Moses and other prophets, even to the time of the Messiah's advent and incarnation, and the covenant, and the selection of a family, a tribe, a nation out of which he was to spring. The first original promise given to man after the fall, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, appears to mean something more than a mere man, or created being; a little reflection
upon the condition of man before and after the fall, and the agency or what the serpent or satan had done in relation to the general transgression, and the consolatory remedy and mercy which would seem to be needed, strengthens the conclusion that something more was intended in this revealed purpose and promise, than mere creature agency
in the fulfilment. When we take a view of creation, the beauty, the harmony, the wisdom, and the order in which it was created and fitted up in its primeval state, the days of man's innocency; and consider the elements subjected to the most perfect harmony, and all the animal and vegetable creation adorning the lower world, and for man's convenience and happiness, we find much to instruct us in the
knowledge of the true God, and his pleasure and will. In reference to the particular point in consideration, and the general subject of our inquiry, if we contemplate our beginning and first estate, its purpose, its character, and the talents bestowed, and the authority confided, we cannot but receive edification. In the beginning "God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
66 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, created he him, male and female created he them.” If we consider more minutely the wonderful structure of man as to his body, his erect form, his exact proportion, his comely figure, his divine face, his majestic appearance: If we mark the variety of his senses and members, how suited to each other, to his condition and place on the earth, and his state and rank in relation to the creatures which God made, and over which he gave to him dominion; and if we meditate upon the admirable contrivance and usefulness of each constituent part, and its peculiar function and office, and the wonderful union and harmony of relations of all these parts, which in the mass constitute the whole physical man, we find inexhaustible means of instruction as to the power, wisdom, goodness, and perfections of God; the infinite obligations we are under to him, and his purposes in this exhibition of himself to every individual of the human family. If, however, we dismiss the consideration of this material portion of our existence, its primitive usefulness, its harmony, and its beauties, and turn pur attention to the nobler part, the im