« VorigeDoorgaan »
the words and works of Christ, who, as God, is “ One with the Father;" and his divine nature is manifested in and through his human nature, being mysteriously united to it. Thus, 'as the
reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and • Man is one Christ. But this materializes or corporalizes, neither the reasonable soul, nor the divine essence. One, not by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God.''. Perhaps no Protestant creed enters so minutely into particulars, or approaches so near the vain attempt to render the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity comprehensible as the Athanasian Creed does: yet it most decidedly protests against the idea of corporalizing the essence of the Deity. “The form of God,”? which some object to, has nothing to do with materialism. “A spirit stood before me; I could not “ discern the form thereof;" says Eliphaz in Job.3 “ The form of the fourth is as the Son of God," says Nebuchadnezzar of the angel who appeared with the three young Jews in the fiery furnace. 4 “ The similitude of JEHOVAH shall he behold." 5 This similitude of JehovAH, we believe to be “the “ form of God,” in which the only begotten Son of God manifested himself, to the patriarchs, to Moses, and to others. “No man hath seen God
at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in “ the bosom of the Father, he hath declared “ him.”6 Forma animi æterna, ( the form of the ' mind is eternal,) says Tacitus, who, as neither
" Athan. Creed. Dan. iii. 25.
· Phil. ii. 6.
Job iv. 15, 16.
Jew nor Christian, may be supposed impartial : but had he any idea of materializing or corporalizing the human soul ?-It might easily be shewn, that there are expressions and narrations in the Old Testament, more suited to convey this idea, than any in the New :) but I reverence the word of God in both Testaments, and am confident that, properly interpreted, the whole sacred volume is calculated to exclude all such gross ideas of the divine essence, and deeply to impress the contrary :-“ God is a Spirit, and they that wor“ship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 2
P. 135. 1. 6.-—I do not object to the conclusion which Mr. C. deduces from the text in Deuteronomy: “I shall cause them to die, that “ shall say there is another God :” and it would be a relief to hear him speak so seriously about “ the second death,” (p. 135. 1. 12.) and the day of judgment,' were it not counterbalanced by other considerations. As, however, the clause, “ the second death,” is taken from the New Testament; the several passages where it occurs, are seriously recommended to his attention. 3 Christians, at least Protestant Christians, hold as strongly as the Jews, that it is a damnable sin, to give divine honour to any creature, to any except God : but they believe, that the One living and true God incomprehensibly exists as three Persons, “The Father, the Son, and “ the Holy Ghost :” into whose one name, we are baptized. Divine perfections are ascribed
Gen. iii. 8. xxxii, 24–29. Exod. xxiv. 10. Hos. xi. 3–5.
to each separately; divine operations are stated to be performed by each, and divine honours are rendered to each : yet there is only “ One
living and true God.” This we think revealed in the whole scripture, but most clearly in the New Testament.
But, though I do not object to Mr. C.'s conclusion from the passage adduced, I must strongly object to his new version of it, which is only a translation of a part of the verse, and not at all consistent with the other part of it." For I, I,
He, and there is no God besides me: I cause to
die, and I cause to live : I wound and I heal, “ and not from my hand a deliverer.” This, I think, is strictly a literal translation. There is no pronoun affix to the verb, “I cause to die,” which there should be, to give even the former clause the meaning Mr. C. puts upon it; and the latter part is wholly incompatible with it. Had a Christian taken such a liberty with the scripture, and in the same manner, I should have marked it with more indignant disapprobation,
P. 135. 1. 14. O how wonderful,' &c.-It is indeed wonderful, that such an immense majority of Christians, during almost 1800 years, including the most sagacious, the most learned, the most holy, pious, and useful men, whom the world ever saw, should have maintained the doctrine of the Trinity: and have formed both their creeds, and liturgies, and their whole worship, with all their hopes of eternal salvation, and all their motives for selfdenying labours and patient sufferings,-from this doctrine; if it be not the doctrine of revelation ? And that they should have been so deeply con
· vinced in the midst of persecutions, and at the approach of violent, or natural, death, that it was the “sure testimony of God.” It is also most wonderful, that at the reformation from Popery, when every part of Christianity, as corrupted by Papists and others, was examined and reexamined, with the most acute, patient, and diligent investigation, by men of no ordinary talents and learning, many of whom sealed their testimony in the flames, and others lived in constant expectation of the same martyrdom ; when numberless ancient, and in that view venerable, notions and practices were abolished, asantichristian ; that they, I say, at this crisis, should, without one exception, as to a collective body, have retained the doctrine of the Trinity in their creeds, articles, and liturgies. This is indeed wonderful, if it be not the doctrine of scripture. That they should also persist in recommending this faith, with their dying lips, to their surviving friends : that this should, especially, have been the case with those who spent their lives in studying the scriptures! That all the labours of able, zealous, and learned Socinians, as well as the sneers and sarcasms of avowed infidels, should have effected so very little comparatively in opposition to it, and that little by no means permanent: and that, in every age, the men who have most zealously aimed to effect the conversion of idolaters, in every part of the globe, to the worship of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the wicked from the errors of their ways, should have held, as ESSENTIAL to Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity: these things are indeed won
derful, most wonderful, absolutely unaccountable : and, if they were not capable of such proof as excludes doubt, they would be perfectly incredible. If this be not the doctrine of the prophets, and of the apostles of Jesus Christ, this fact is indeed more wonderful than any of the miracles recorded in scripture; or any other well attested fact in universal history
If the writer may be permitted to speak of himself, after such a venerable company, he would say; that, before he had, with any proportionable degree of seriousness and diligence, studied the scriptures, he was a Socinian; and could have retailed all the ordinary objections to the doctrine of the Trinity, and the other doctrines which depend on it, with sufficient plausibility and confidence, and with an assumed air of superior discernment: but by searching the scriptures with great assiduity, and by prayer for that wisdom, which God has promised to those who seek wisdom from him, as one in most deep concern about the salvation of his own soul; with little aid from Trinitarian writers, and none from preachers ; after much opposition of heart to the doctrine, he became, in about two years, a decided Trinitarian. This has been stated in “ The Force of Truth, which has now been published more than thirty-six years. All these years have been employed almost exclusively, in searching and explaining the scriptures, from the pulpit and the press : and, at this day, his assurance that the doctrine of the Trinity is the clear testimony of God in his holy oracles, is even stronger than ever. He, indeed, finds no