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DR. HUNTINGTON ON THE TRINITY.

We have endeavored to give our readers, in another department of the Magazine, a view of Dr. Huntington's argument in favor of the tripersonality of the object of Christian worship. Many of them will read the volume itself, and see the argument in its whole breadth and fulness. The main points are the following:

The doctrine of the Trinity, or rather Tripersonality, for that is the form which it assumes in his statement, and the two terms are by no means synonymous, has with trifling exceptions been held by Christian believers ever and everywhere. Though truth is not determined by majorities, yet it is hardly credible that the great Head of the Church, who promised to be with it always, would suffer it to embrace a delusion so wide-spread, and running through all the ages. To suppose this is painful, not to say irreverent towards the Providence that has ever led and watched the true Christian Israel.

This doctrine, or the system of which it forms a part, is essential to render Christianity practically an efficient and vital power in the world and in the human soul. Leave this out, and man fails to see the extent of sin and its terrible evil; piety wastes, the Church declines, enthusiasm is chilled, prayer loses its efficacy, and the world reaps an easy harvest. Restore it, and the Church becomes aggressive; the sinner is convinced and finds peace in believing, and devotion revives again.

This doctrine, and the system to which it belongs, give unity to the Bible, and make all its disclosures and utterances fall into one majestic and consistent plan. From Genesis to the Apocalypse, the great themes of Incarnation and Redemption are all-harmonizing and make all difficulties of exegesis to vanish, while to the Anti-Trinitarian they are insurmountable, or require unnatural or labored explanations.

These three heads seem to us to sum up the argument, which in the Sermon is, drawn out in various detail, and with great rhetorical skill. This doctrine of threeness in the Divine Nature has been the almost universally accepted one through all the ages of faith: it is necessary in order to make Christianity an efficient, working, and renewing power; and it makes the Bible a consistent and symmetrical whole.

These tests, if they would bear examination, would certainly be conclusive. To present them fairly and plainly, rather than to controvert them, is our purpose now.

But as this is not our view of the Christian history, economy, and revelation, and as the whole subject goes to the very life and essence of Christianity, and the deeps of the Christian experience, we ask the company of our readers while we take them, not into another controversy about the Trinity, but to some points of observation, from which in a light somewhat different this great field of truth may lie before us.

1. It is a pretty sure indication of corruption in theology when its service requires of us to wrest language from its legitimate use, and employ it in the Church as Talleyrand did in the State, to conceal or to obscure thought rather than reveal it. Dr. Huntington does not consciously do this, but any system of tripersonality must. Everybody has an idea, till it is dissipated by metaphysics, of what a person is. A person is an individual being, having his own separate selfconsciousness; and to be personally known to us, he must be revealed to us in living form. To say that God exists in three persons is to say that there are three self-conscious beings, and the conception is produced instantly in the mind of three Gods. You may protest that you are not using language in its common acceptation; but what does the

protest avail, if you go right on and assign to the three persons such offices and functions as inevitably beget the notion of three self-conscious actors in the believer's mind? Is it the words on your lips, or is it the inmost thought of your heart, that God regards in worship? We may say “one God”

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with the mouth all day and all night, and yet if the attitude of the soul within is towards three Persons each with an “independent self-consciousness," and each having Divine attributes, then the motions of the mouth are as empty sounds, while the act of the soul is an unblest idolatry.

The doctrine of threeness in the Divine Nature is held now, and has been held from remote ages, by those who do not divide the Divine Personality. We never can know anything of God, except so far as he becomes humanized to our human conceptions. This seems plain. Man is his image and partakes of his nature. All that we say of God, his mercy,

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justice, his holiness, his goodness, mean nothing to us, except so far forth as there is something in our own being that answers to those great ideas. Just so likewise of his unity, his threeness, and his personality. There is ground for these in our own nature, or we could not even receive a revelation respecting them.

respecting them. Man's nature is triune. He is love, intellect, and active power : heart, head, hand; Sir William Hamilton puts it in his clear and masterly analysis, feeling, cognition, and conation: the sole ground in man whence he can arise to the august conception of the Divine Threeness, the eternal Love, the eternal Wisdom or Word, and their eternal processions of Power. We may strain after something about God when there is nothing in man to receive it: it will not even fall within the laws of thought; we only beat the air and hear the “clatter” of our own intellectual machinery. That God is Love, Wisdom, and Power, all existing in one self-conscious being or person, creating man for feeling, knowing, and doing, comes at once into our faith that puts us in communion with the Supreme in just the degree that we will suffer him to mould us into his own glorious image.

II. It is the concession of candid Trinitarians that the Tripersonality is not found expressly in the New Testament, but was “ developed” afterwards by the Christian Church. “ This doctrine does not strictly belong to the fundamental

articles of the Christian faith, as appears sufficiently evident from the fact that it is expressly held forth in no one particular passage of the New Testament,” is the language of Neander. “ The unfolding of the mystery is committed to the scientific activity of the Church," is the language of Olshausen. But that the doctrine of Christ's essential divinity is set forth in the New Testament, yea, that it breaks from its pages in a blaze of glory, is the almost unanimous agreement of Christian believers. In the Incarnation, the Life, and the Mediation of Christ there is the full expression of the Godhead, the essential Divinity coming down into visible personality for the salvation of man. Never are we invited to come to the Father by climbing round the personality of the Son. That there are eternal deeps of the Divine Nature that we may never fathom, is only saying that we are weak and finite. That all which we can know or understand of God we have in Christ, the incarnate and revealing Word, is his own declaration again and again. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son that dwelleth in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” “ All that the Father hath is mine." 66 He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” That the essential Divinity in Christ is not a person separated from the Father, another person, but consubstantial with the Father, and revealing the whole Godhead in one glorious person, “ all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” is plain even in the letter; but in the only system of interpretation self-consistent throughout, - we mean the New Church law of analogies, — this central

truth of the New Testament appears like the sun shining in his strength.

And mark with what plainness the Holy Spirit is described as the gift of Christ, the procession of life and power coming from him alone : " He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” “I will send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth." “ He breathed on them, saying, “ “ Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” The exigencies of theology

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must be hard-pressing indeed, that can turn this sweet and blessed doctrine aside, of a cleansing and comforting power pulsing into the soul from a Divine Saviour, brought near to the disciple by personal communion and lowly faith, for that strange riddle of the understanding, a third person in the Trinity coming and going between God and man!

III. The first historical development of Christianity was in strict accordance with this conception of one God in one person, and that person brought near to man in the Divine Saviour. The Pentecostal scene fulfilled the promise of the Comforter. It was not produced by preaching Tripersonality and a vicarious atonement. It was produced by preaching Christ and the resurrection with repentance and remission of sins; and as for the Holy Spirit which came as a baptism of fire, it was said of the glorified Saviour, “ He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” So the first conversions were made and the first churches were built up. When Paul looked up through the opened heavens, and sought the source of that power which smote him to the earth and overwhelmed him with self-convictions, the answer was, “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest." They called on the name of the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit came. It was the Divine Sphere of Light and Love and Power brought down to the earth in the Lord Jesus Christ, and turned full upon man. The “scientific activity” of the Church had not yet begun. They simply looked up to the Saviour, the God become man, and “the Holy Ghost fell on them,” (a person indeed ?) and its power rolled in upon them in surges of energy, peace, and love. And when John was “in the Spirit,” and saw the glorious Theophany, did he see three persons each claiming divine honors, or did he see “one like unto the Son of Man," saying, “ I am the First and the Last, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty”?

No student of history, we think, will affirm that there is the least hint of tripersonality in the Godhead in the writings

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