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peared unto him.” Heb. Nigloo Ailav Haelohim, i. e. the gods appeared unto him; the verb is plural as well as the noun. Again, Deut. 4 : 7, Elohim Kerovim, “God so nigh;" again, 5 : 26, Elohim Chayim, " Living God;" in both these places the participle is plural. Once more, Eccl. 12:1, Sechor Borecha, Remember thy Creators,” the noun is plural. R. Bechai, discoursing on the word Elohim, says, “ According to the cabalistical way, this name (Elohim) is two words, viz. El Hem, i. e, they are God; but the explanation of the yood (which is wanting in the second word) must be fetched from Eccl. 12:1, “Remember thy Creators.' He that is prudent will understand it." In Lege, f. 4. c. 1.
$ 11. I need not tell you, dear Benjamin, that our Rabbins are greatly perplexed about the interpretation of these passages. R. Bechai, on the words, “ Let us make,” says "that when Moses wrote the law, he gave an account of the several works of creation day by day; but when he came to write the words, Gen. 1: 26, God questioned him about it, why he, after that manner, gave occasion to the heretics to open their mouths ?" B. Rab. fo. 9. c. 2. The same author tries to persuade us that God took counsel with some creatures; his words are these, “ With whom did he advise ?" R. Joshua, in the name of R. Levi, says, “ With his works of heaven and earth, like a king that has two counsellors, and would do nothing without them.” R. Samuel, the son of Nachman, says " that he advised with every day's work ;" another Rabbi says, " with his ministering angels," ibid. fol. 10. c. 1. But this opinion is rejected with scorn by Abar. banel in Pent. fol. 19, c. 4; besides, man is said to be made in the image and likeness of him or them with whom God consulted; but that man was not made in the image or likeness of angels, &c. but in the likeness of God, is expressly declared by Moses, Gen. 1:27, and by our Rabbins; and the prophet declares that God never took counsel with any of his creatures. Isa. 40: 13. R. Huna says, “ If this kind of language had not been written, it would not have been lawful to say, Bara Elohim, i. e. " the Elohim has created." Martini pugio fidei, p. 388.
$ 12. Hence our Rabbins acknowledge that there are secrets and mysteries contained in these expressions which must not be revealed to the common people. I will just bring to your recollection what our most renowned Rabbi, Maimonides, says on this subject : “All things which are mentioned in the history of the creation are not to be understood according to the letter, as the vulgar imagine; for otherwise our rise men would not have commanded the concealment of these things, nor would they have exercised such care in hiding and involving them in parables : nor would they have even so studiously prohibited the mention of such things in the presence of the ignorant rabble ; for the literal senses of these things either beget wicked thoughts, imaginations, and opinions concerning the na. ture of God, or certainly subvert the foundations of the law, and introduce some heresy. Whoever has any skill in these subjects, ought to be on his guard that he do not divulge them; as we have many times giren warning in our commentary on the Mischna. Hence, also, our Rabbins plainly say that it is for the glory of God to conceal these things that are written from the beginning of the book to this place, (i. e. Gen. 1: 26.) But they have said ihis after what is written concerning the works of the sixth day. Hence the truth of what we have observed in evi. dence is evident. But because he who has acquired any perfection is bound to communicate it to others, it will unavoidably follow that those who have apprehended any of these secrets, whether by their own diligence or by the help of a master, will, at times, utter a few of them. But this must not be done openly and plainly, but under cover, and only by signs and symbols, such as are to be found, scattered and blended with other things, in the sayings of our more celebrated and excellent Rabbins. Therefore, I also, as you may observe in these mysteries, only mention one word or expression as the hinge of the whole. But I leave the rest to others, to whom it is to be left,". More Ne. vochim, Par. 2, c. 29, p. 273, 274.. On these words it has justly been remarked, "What reason can the learned Jews have for speaking of secrets and mysteries; for commanding the concealment of these from the common people; the use of parables, of single words or phrases, blended with extraneous matter; and for giving frequent warnings to this purpose, if they really believe the interpretations which they give openly? When this intelligent writer says that the literal sense of the Scriptural language concerning creation introduces heresy, he undoubtedly refers to the support that it gives to the Christian doctrine, which they distinguish by this name; and especially to that of the Trinity." Having now, in as brief a manner as possible, proved that Scripture language leads us to the idea of a plurality in unity, I will, in my next letter, show that this plurality is restricted to a Trinity of persons in the unity of Jehovah.
PLURALITY RESTRICTED TO A TRINITY.
My dear Brother,
Agreeably to my promise, I will now endeavor to show that the plurality in Jehovah is restricted to a Trinity of persons.
§ 1. This appears from many passages of Scripture. The manner in which the high priest was to bless the
people is thus described : “ The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gra. cious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Nuin. 6 : 24-26. On this passage R.
" The name Jehovah is repeated three times with respect to the three periods of time, the present, the past, and the future, which the Divine Being has power over; of him it may be said, that he is, and was, and is to come, or will for ever be.” Pent. fo. 169. c. 2. Again it is said in the ancient and celebrated book Bachir, " that the repeating Jehovah three times in this place teaches us that these names of the blessed God are three
every distinct power
is like to each other, and has the same name with it; i. e. every one is, and is called Jehovah.” Ibid. R. M. Markanti, Leg. f. 173, c. 1, and e. 3.
The same author adds, that in the words of the Psalmist where it is said, the Lord reigneth, that the words bear witness of the three, Hawiyoth, (i. e. existencies or subsistencies,) which are in the blessed Creator. And what is said that all is closed with Jehovah, the peculiar name of God, intimates that he is the fountain of all, and from him are the emanations of all.” He adds, "that it is said in the book Zohar, that in those words, the Lord reigns, there is a great mystery.” How striking the agreement in the manner in which the high priest blessed the people of Israel, and the form of baptism, and the apostolic benedictions. Believers are to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 28 : 19; and the aposile implores on the churches, grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.” 2 Cor. 13 : 14. Rev. 1: 4.
§ 2. The next passage I shall notice is Deut. 6 : 4. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord." You know, dear Benjamin, that our people repeat this passage more than once every day, and consider it of such impore tance, that they believe that whoever repeats these words
with his dying breath, is sure to go to heaven. Now, whilst in this passage the unity of the Divine essence is taught, a plurality or trinity of persons is clearly intimated. For the words in the original are, Jehowah Elohenoo Je. howah Echad, and may be rendered Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. This perfectly agrees with the preceding quota. tion from Sepher Bachir; and another of our Rabbins says, " Jehovah, &c. Jehovah is the head or beginning of all things in splendor, antiquity, and holiness, and he is called the Father, the Elohenoo, i. e. our God is the profundity of rivers and springs which go forth and flow unto all things. And again, Jehovah, that is the tree, the cabalistical tree, one of the sephiroth, called Binah or Tevoonah, by which the world was made, and all is one, one is knit to the other, and there is not found any separation, but all are one.” Markanti in Lege. fo. 194, c. 3.
§ 3. The next passage to be considered is Ps. 50 : 1. “ The mighty God, even the Lord hath spoken,” Heb. El, Elohim, Jehovah, here are three names of the Deity. Hence the author of Midresh Tehillim in Loco asks, “ Why does he mention the name of the blessed God three times ? It is to teach thee that the blessed God created his world by these three names, which answer to the three Middoth, (or properties, or as they are called elsewhere, the Hawiyoth, Panim, Havpeninim, i. e. Hypostases or persons. See Sepher Shaar Zedeck, and in Sepher Yetzira, in Jos. Voi. sin, in Pag. Fid. p. 406,) by which the world was created, and they are these—wisdom, knowledge, and understand. ing. Wisdom, as it is said, the Lord by wisdom has founded the earth; understanding, as it is said, by understanding he has established the heavens; knowledge, as it is said, by his knowledge the depths were broken up. And this is it that is said Exod. 20: 5, I am the Lord thy God, a jeal. ous God, (Heb. Jehowah, Elohim, Ail,) answering to the three by which the world was made. And thus the children of Gad and the children of Reuben say Ail Elohim