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God is become unto us Wisdom; and in Col. ii. 3, where he says Christ, In whom are hid all the treasures of Wisdom.
That the attribute wisdom is not meant by Solomon, in this chapter, is completely evident from the 14th verse : Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom. Now it is impossible, that Wisdom should possess Wisdom: the possessor, and the thing possessed, being, by physical necessity, two things, distinct from each other. It is also evident, from the whole tenour of this chapter, as well as from several other parts of the discourse, in the beginning of this Book; particularly Chap. i. 20—33; on which, however, I can dwell no longer at the present time.
Thirdly. Should it be still supposed, that the attribute of Wisdom, and not "Christ, is intended by SOLOMON; the passage, even if it were not poetical, would not involve such absurdities and difficulties, as are involved in the supposition, that the Holy Ghost is an attribute personified. An extensive comparison of these two subjects cannot be expected on the present occasion. Suflice it to say, that Wisdom is not said to appear in a bodily shape ; is not introduced, in form, as an agent in the common concerns of life ; is not spoken of by one living being, when discoursing of another living being, as a third living being united with the other two in the transaction of real business; is never introduced in the Scriptures in plain prose, as speaking, hearing, commanding, guiding, sunctifying, and universally doing such things, as can be attributed only to a living person. Yet it must strike every person, that, as Wisdom is an attribute, involving consciousness and perception, all these things, and others like them, might be attributed to it with much inore propriety, than to the attribute of Power.
5thly. The Holy Ghost is a Divine Person.
There will probably be little dispute concerning this declaration among those who acknowledge that the Holy Ghost is a Person. The things, which are said concerning the Spirit of God, are so plainly such as evince infinite perfection, that few persons, probably none, who admit the Personality of the Spirit, will deny his Deity. Still, it will be useful, on this occasion, to exhibit several proofs of this truth.
1st. The Names of God are given to the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures.
Now the Lord is that Spirit. 2 Cor. viii. 17. This is a direct affirmation of St. Paul, that the Spirit is God.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? and who has been his Counsellor ? Rom. xi. 34.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? 1 Cor. ii. 16.
Both these passages are quoted from Isaiah xl. 13, Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord? or, being his Counsellor, hath taught him? VOL. II.
Farther; the blessing prayed for from the Holy Ghost is communion, or fellowship. The request for this blessing involves, therefore, the declaration, that the Holy Ghost will, if the prayer be granted, be present with all those, for whom this communion is supplicated, and present with that influence, which is the source of spiritual and immortal life. In other words, the Holy Ghost is here exhibited as Omnipresent; and as every where possessing, and at his pleasure communicating, life here, as the commencement of life hereafter.
I shall conclude this discourse with observing, that the Divinity of the Spirit of truth furnishes Christians with the most solid foundation for gratitude, and joy. It will be seen, in the progress of these discourses, that He is the sum of all the moral blessings, introduced into this world by the Mediation of Christ. He sanctifies the soul; brings it out of darkness into marvellous light; improves it in holiness; conducts it through the temptations and dangers of this life ; furnishes it with every gift and grace; prompts it to all virtue and excellence; and fills it with all spiritual enjoyment. For this great work he is abundantly qualified by the possession of infinite perfection; of all that is great, and all that is good. In this world, He commences, and carries it on. In the future world, He advances it to absolute perfection. Through the ages of eternity He will supply, enrich, and adorn, the soul with endless virtue, as the means of endless happiness and glory.
TESTIMONIES TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY, FROM THE
ANCIENT CHRISTIANS, JEWS, AND HEATHENS.
Isaiah xlviii. 16.—Come ye near unto me; hear ye this : I have not spoken in secret
from the beginning ; from the time, that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me.
In the last discourse I considered the Personality and Divinity of the Spirit of God. In a series of discourses, formerly delivered, I considered ihe Divinity of Christ. If the arguments, alleged in those discours 's, are as conclusive, as they appear to me; they prove the existence of a Trinity, or three Persons in one God.
The proof of this doctrine must unquestionably be derived from the Scriptures alone. But, when a doctrine of this extraordinary
a nature is presented to the mind, we naturally feel a strong curiosity to know the manner, in which the same doctrine has been regarded by others; particularly by such, as have lived before us ; and peculiarly by the Ancient Members of the Jewish and Christian Churches.' Nor is this a matter of mere curiosity. If the doctrine of the Trinity were, now, first discovered by mankind to be contained in the Scriptures, the words being supposed to have remained always the same; we should undoubtedly be surprised to find, that those passages, which, in our view, clearly contain this doctrine, had never been understood by others in the same manner, as by ourselves. Particularly, we should be inclined to doubt the soundness of our own interpretations, if we found the Jews construing such passages in the Old Testament, and the early Christians in the New, in a manner, totally different from ours. Were such the fact, we should, I think, very naturally suspect our own mode of construction : for we could not easily believe, that the Jewish Church was always ignorant of this doctrine, if it was really taught by the Prophets ; nor the early Christian Church, if it was decisively communicated by the Apostles. It will be easily seen, that the time, in which those lived, to whom an appeal of this nature is made, inust be important, as well as the character of the witnesses. The more ancient the witnesses are, other things being equal, the more valuable must be their testimony; and such testimony, if really ancient, and at the same time explicit and decisive, cannot fail of yielding material satisfaction to every rational inquirer.
Nor is the testimony even of Heathens concerning this subject, to be disregarded. If we find that the ancient Heathen nations, generally, or in most or all instances, independently of any ac
quaintance with the Scriptures, have holden the doctrine of a Triad constituting a Monad, that is, a Supreme God, who was One in one sense, and Three in another; we cannot easily avoid the conclusion, that they derived this doctrine from a single source, and, that that source was Revelation. The doctrine plainly lies wholly out of the course, I think I may say, out of the reach, of human thought. There is, therefore, no reason, why we should believe it to have been invented by man. Much less is there any reason, to suppose it invented by men, in so many different nations, and in such circumstances of barbarism, as almost preclude the invention of any philosophical doctrine. The source of the doctrine must, therefore, have been one: and that a Revelation, cxisting before these nations were separated from each other.
In the text, a Person declares concerning himself: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, in the original the Lord Jehovah, and his Spirit hath sent me. The Person, speaking in this verse, is in the second verse called Jehovah of hosts ; or Jehovah God of hosts. And in the twelfth verse he says, I am he; I am the first : I also am the last. Mine hand also häth laid the foundation of the earth, my right hand hath spanned the heavens.
When I call unto them, they stand up together. The person, speaking in the text, is, then, Jehovah of hosts; the first and the last ; the Creator of the earth and the heavens. And this Person says, And now the Lord Jehovah and his Spirit hath sent me: or, more probably, The Lord Jehovah hath sent me and his Spirit. Origen, as quoted by Bishop Loreth, comments on this passage in this manner: “Who is it that saith, in Isaiah, “ And now the Lord hath sent me and his Spirit ?”' in which, as the expression is ambiguous, is it the Father and the Holy Spirit, who have sent Jesus? or the Father, who hath sent both Christ and the Holy Spirit? The latter is the true interpretation.” This opinion of Origen appears to be just; because we no where read in the Scriptures, that Christ was sent by the Spirit ; but, every where, that both Christ, and the Spirit, were sent by the Father, called in the text the LORD Gop. To the present purpose, however, this difference of interpretation is wholly immaterial. Whether the Spirit send or be sent, he is equally determined to be a living agent; since in the physical sense it is impossible, that any other being should either send, or be sent. In the text, then, the doctrine of a TRINITY is directly declared by a Person, styled Jehovah Of hosts. us now see what countenance this doctrine receives from the sources which I have specified above.
It will not be imagined, that in the compass of such a discourse, any thing more can be done than merely to make a moderate selection of the testimonies referred to. For those, which I shall mention, I am chiefly indebted to Bishop Bull, Doctor Jamieson, Mr. Maurice, and the Asiatic Researches: an! it is believed, that
they will be sufficiently numerous, and sufficiently explicit, to satisfy a mind willing to receive the truth.
1. To the Pre-existence of Christ the following lestimonies must, I think, be regarded as complete.
1st. Justin Martyr, who flourished in the year 140, and was born about the close of the first century, declares Christ to have been the person who appeared to Abraham, under the Oak of Mamre; and asserts that the person, here called Lord or JehoVAH, to whom Abraham prays for Sodom, and who, in the next chapter, is said to rain fire and brimstone on the Cities of the plain, was no other than Christ. He also asserts, that Christ appeared to Moses in the bush.
2dly. Irenæus, who flourished in the year 178, declares, that Christ, as God, was adored by the Prophets; was the God of the living; and the living God; that he spoke to Moses in the bush; and that afterwards, the same Person refuted the doctrine of the Sadducees concerning the Resurrection of the dead. He further says, that Abraham learned divine truth from the Logos, or Word of God.
3dly. Theophilus of Antioch, who flourished in the year 181, declares, that Christ, assuming 50 m POOWTOV TOU wasgos, the character of the Father, that is, the Divine character, came to Paradise in the appearance of God, and conversed with Adam.
4thly. Clemens Alexandrinus, who flourished in the year 194, exhibits Christ as the Author of the former precepts, and of the latter; that is, of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and of the New; deriving both from one fountain.
5thly. Tertullian declares, that it was the Son of God who spoke to Moses, and who appeared, that is, as God, at all times; that he overthrew the Tower of Babel; confounded the languages of men; and rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. He calls him Dominus a Domino; and says, that he only, and alway, conversed with men, from Adam down to the Patriarchs and Prophets, in visions and dreams; and that no other God conversed with men, beside the Word, who was afterward to be made flesh.
II. That Christ was the Creator of the world, in the view of the ancient Church, the following testimonies salisfactorily prove.
1st. Barnabas, who, as you well know, was a companion of the Apostles, and could not but know their views of this subject, says, in an epistle of his, yet remaining, “ The Sun in the heavens was the work of the Son of God."
2dly. Hermas, also a companion of the Apostles, says, that "the Son of God was more ancient than any creature; seeing he was present with the Father at the Creation of the World."
3dly. Athenagoras, who flourished in the year 178, says, that “by Christ, and through Christ, all things were created; since the Father and the Son are ev; one thing; one substance."