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Proclus, a Platonic Philosopher, already mentioned, says, that Orpheus taught “ the existence of One God, who is the ruler over all things; and that this One God is three Minds, three Kings; He who is ; He who has, or possesses ; and He who beholds. These three Minds he declares to be the same with the Triad of Orpheus ; viz. Phanes, Uranus, and Chronus.
5thly. The Greek Philosophers, also, extensively acknowledged a Triad.
Particularly, Pythagoras styled God so 'ev, or the Unity; and Hovas, or that which is alone ; and also so ayadov, or the good.
"From this Eternal Monad,” says Pythagoras," there sprang an infinite Duality; that is, from Him, who existed alone, two proceeded, who were infinite.
Plato also held a Triad; and named them to Ayadov, the Good; Nous, or Ayos, Mind, or Word; and Yuxen xogues, the Soul of the World. The το Αγαθον he also calls πρωτος Θέος, and μεγιστος Θεος.
. Parmenides, the founder of the Eleatic Philosophy, says, The Deity is 'Ev xa Folha ; One and Many: Simplicius, commenting on Plato's exhibition of the doctrines of Parmenides, says, that "these words were a description of the auts Ovos,” the true or original existence; and Plotinus says, that Parmenides acknowledged three Divine Unities subordinated. The first Unity he calls the most perfectly and properly One; the second, One many; and the third, One and many. Plotinus further says, that Parmenides acknowl. edged a Triad of original Persons. Plotinus speaks of God as being “ the One, the Mind, and the Soul;" which he calls the original or principal persons. Amelius calls these Persons three Kings, and three Creators.
Numenius, a famous Pythagorean, acknowledged a Triad. The second Person he calls the Son of the first; and the third he speaks of, as proceeding also from the first.
6thly. In the Empires of Thibet and Tangut, a triune God is constantly acknowledged in the popular religion. Medals, having the image of such a God stamped on them, are given to the people by the Delai Lama, to be suspended, as holy, around their necks, or otherwise used in their worship. These people also worshipped an idol, which was the representation of a three-fold God.
7thly. A medal, now in the Cabinet of the Emperor of Russia, was found near the River Kemptschyk, a branch of the Jenisea, in Siberia, of the following description.
A human figure is formed on one side, having one body and three heads. This person sits upon the cup of the Lotos ; the common accompaniment of the Godhead in various Eastern coun
and on a sofa, in the manner of Eastern Kings. On the other side is the following inscription. “The bright and sacred image of the Deity, conspicuous in three figures. Gather the holy purpose of God from them : love him." A Heathen could not more justly, or strongly, describe a Trinity,
8thly. The ancient Scandinavians acknowledged a Triad; whom they styled Odin, Frea, and Thor. In the Edda, the most remarkable monument of Scandinavian Theology, Gangler, a Prince of Sweden, is exhibited as being introduced into the hall
, or palace, of the Gods. Here he saw three thrones raised one above another, and on each throne a sacred person. These persons were thus described to him by his guide : « He, who sits on the lowest throne, is Har, or the Lofty One. The second is Jafn Har, or Equal to the Lofty One. He, who sits on the highest throne, is Thridi, or the 'Third.
9thly. The Romans, Germans, and Gauls, acknowledged a Triad, and worshipped a Triad, in various manners.
The Romans and Germans, worshipped the Mairia; three Goddesses inseparable, and always united in their worship, temples, and honours.
The Romans also, together with the Greeks and Egyptians, wor"shipped the Cabiri, or three Mighty Ones.
The Diana of the Romans is stamped on a Medal, as having three faces on three distinct heads, united to one form. On the reverse is the image of a man, holding his hand to his lips; under whom is this inscription : “ Be silent; it is a mystery."
The German Goddess, Trygla, was drawn in the same manner.
The Gauls, also, united their Gods in triple groups, in a manner generally similar, as is evident from sculptures, either now, or lately, remaining.
10thly. 7 Japanese and Chinese anciently acknowledged a Triad.
The great image of the Japanese is One form, with three heads ; generally resembling that of Brahma, Veeshnu, and Seeva, already described as worshipped by the Hindoos. The Chinese worshipped in ancient times One Supreme God, without Images, or symbols of any kind. This worship lasted until after the death of Confucius, about 500 years before the birth of Christ.
Lao-Kiun, the celebrated founder of one of the philosophical, or religious, sects in China, delivered this, as the great leading doctrine of his Philosophy: “ That the Eternal Reason produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; and Three produced All things."
11thly. The American Nations, also, have in several instances acknowledged a Triad.
The Iroquois hold, that before the creation three Spirits existed; all of whom were employed in creating mankind.
The Peruvians adored a Triad, whom they styled the Father and Lord Sun, the Son Sun, and the Brother Sun.
In Cruquisaco, a province of Peru, the inhabitants worshipped an image, named Tangatanga ; which in their language signifies One in Three, and Three in one. Vol. II.
Thus have I finished this numerous collection of testimonies to the great Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity. The labour, employ. ed in making it, has, I hope, not been useless. In a serious mind it cannot, I think, fail to produce, not conviction only, but astonishment, and delight, to see the wonderful manner, in which God has diffused, and perpetuated, the evidence of this doctrine throughout the successive periods of time. The testimonies of the Jewish and Christian Churches are complete and irresistible. We are not to expect, that, amid all the ignorance of Heathenism, correct and unobjectionable ideas of God should be found in any nation.
But when we consider, that the doctrine of a Triad has been so evidently received, without a question, in all the four quarters of the Globe, and by so many different nations; that it was received among almost all those who were ancient ; that it was received independently of the Scriptures; that it was expressed in so many forms, and those completely decisive as to the real meaning ; that the scheme in all these forms was, unanswerably, the union of Three Divine Beings, or Persons, in One; and that this scheme was so often, and so definitely, explained in multiplied and very various modes of expression ; modes of expression too, which are incapable of being misconstrued; we cannot, I think, fail to determine, that the doctrine of the Trinity was originally revealed to the human race; and has almost every where been conveyed down, both
; in their worship, and their sacred traditions.
REGENERATION. THE AGENT.-HIS AGENCY.
Titus iii. 5.- Nol by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his
mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneralion, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.
IN a preceding discourse, I proposed to enter upon an inquiry into the great subject of Regeneration under two principal heads : 1. The Agent in this work; and,
;; II. The Work itself.
The former of these subjects I proposed to discuss under these heads :
1. The Character of the Agent ; and,
It will be observed, that I here take it for granted, that mankind are, in some instances, really regenerated; reserving the proof of this doctrine to a future occasion, when I shall come to the discussion of the second thing originally proposed; viz. The Work of Regeneration. In discoursing on collateral subjects of Theology, or of any other science, it is, not very unfrequently, necessary to suppose one or more of them, for the time, allowed; to preclude useless embarrassment in the discussion of the others. This, however, is to be done only for the time; and only for the purpose, which has been specified. It is no part of my design, in this system, to take any point in Theology for granted; nor to expect the belief of any doctrine, alleged by me, unless the arguments, adduced to support it, shall be found solid and convincing. Nor do I ever intend to consider any thing as granted by those, who differ from me, unless I suppose it to be really granted by them. If there be found in this system of discourses any thing, contrary to these principles, I hope it will be considered as the result of inattention, and error, on my own part; for no departure from them will receive any justification from me.
With these things premised, I shall now proceed to a consideration of
The Fact, that the Holy Ghost is the Agent in the Regeneration of Man.
It will be easily seen, that the proof of this position must be derived from the Scriptures; and that all the evidence concerning it, furnished by reason and experience, must be merely auxiliary; and cannot, in the nature of the case, he decisive. From the Scriptures, then, I shall proceed to allege such proofs of this doctrine, as to me appear satisfactory.
1st. I argue this doctrine from Declarations of the Scriptures. The text is one of these declarations.
In this passage we are said to be saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The word renewing is an exact translation of the original word in this place. To renez signifies, as you well know, to make new, or to make over again. This operation is here ascribed to the Holy Ghost in as simple and unambiguous terms, as are possible.
John i. 12, 13, is another example of the same nature. But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of Man, but
In this passage of Scripture it is asserted, that the birth, by which mankind become the sons of God, is derived not from blood, or natural descent; nor, from the will of the flesh; nor, from the will of man; that is, not from human contrivance and determination in any form ; but from God. It is difficult to conceive how this doctrine could be more clearly asserted. But if those who sustain this
character are born of God, they are born of the Spirit of God. For our Saviour, discoursing on this subject in the third chapter, says, Ercept a Man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That, which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that, which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. Here the Persons, said in the former passage to be born of God, are declared by our Saviour to be born of the Spirit; and that which is born of the Spirit is declared alone to be spiritual. So far as I can see, these passages in the most decisive manner assert Regeneration to be, exclusively, the work of the Spirit of God.
In this passage, also, that which is born of the flesh is declared to he flesh; that is, whatever proceeds from a fleshly source partakes of its fleshly nature. The word flesh is customarily used in the Scriptures to denote the native character of man. In this sense the carnal, or fleshly, mind is declared by St. Paul to be enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed capable of being subject to it. In the same sense, the same Apostle says, In me, that is, in my flesh, or natural character, dwelleth no good thing.
A contrast is studiously run between that, which proceeds from the Spirit, and that which proceeds from the flesh; or, to use the words of our Saviour in the passage above quoted, between that which is flesh, and that which is spirit; in several passages of Scripture. To be carnally minded, says St. Paul, is death ; but to