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begotten of the Father,” John i, 14. He then proceeds to show how his glory was seen, in all the testimonies concerning him, and in all his sayings and miracles, by which his divine nature or his divine perfections were manifested. All these, he professes, he wrote “ that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God," John xx, 31. T
declaration of his purpose is imme. diately connected with the confession of faith which Thomas made, (My Lord and my God,) our Lord's approbation of it, and his benediction on those who should believe, like him, on the testimony of his apostles. It is true, a Socinian can see no divinity implied in that phrase, 6 the Son of God.” When his prejudice is removed he will see that St. John, in his first epistle, has not censured the Gnostics only, who denied our Lord's humanity, but those also who denied his Messiahship and his divinity. On the one hand he has indeed said, “ Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard, that it should come," 1 John iv, 3. But, on the other hand, he has also said, “ Now are there many antichrists. They went out from us, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? he is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son," 1 John ii, 18-22. 66 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God," 1 John iv, 15. 66 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God," i John v, 5. “ These things have I written unto you, (not merely to show that Jesus Christ was a real man, but) that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God," 1 John v, 13. And that this design might not be misinterpreted, he concludes that epistle with these words, in which he de. clares the true deity of the Son of God: “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an un. derstanding that we may know him that is true : are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ, This is the true God, and eternal life," 1 John v, 20.
The Holy Spirit is never in the sacred Scriptures de nominated either a person, or God the Holy Ghost. Our Lord, however, in speaking of him, often gave him the
strongest distinct and personal characters; and to his authority, on this subject, we have made our appeal. (See pp. 117, 118.) He also denominated the Holy Spirit' the Spirit of God, Matt. xii, 28, and by that appellation indicated his proper divinity. Now this is precisely the doctrine on which we insist.
On the whole: After Thomas had addressed Jesus Christ as his Lord and his God, and had been commended in the presence of his brethren for this confession of his faith, our Lord gave commandment to his disciples to “ teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matt. xxviii, 19. This was the summit of what our Lord taught to his disciples, and this institution was a summary of the instruction which he had previously given to them. He did not say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three ; but he did not make it impiety for us so to count them. It was not necessary to teach that three are three. He did not say these three are one: or that the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost is God; but he appointed that, by a religious rite, the faithful shall be devoted to them, though he had also taught that “ the Lord our God is one Lord, and him only we should serve."
According to this institution, by which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are held forth as the one object of the faith and obedience of the Christian church, the apostles initiated every believer into this doctrine. And this doctrine, as well as the baptismal vow which was founded on it, they perpetuated by a form of benediction which is a counterpart of the form of baptism: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you
all." In this simple form this great subject was left by Christ and his apostles. It would be arrogance to suppose that any addition which has been made to it is an improvement. The religious controversies of some of the first ages intro. duced a phraseology to which the sacred writers, we find, were perfect strangers. Such an unscriptural phraseology a Bible Christian might easily be persuaded to relinquish, if the sacrifice were to be made in favour of the truth as it is in Jesus. But the Sociņians prohibit a recantation of the former, by identifying it with the latter; and almost
vindicate the propriety of the phraseology, by using the same weapons against both. The cause of truth would not have stood on a firmer basis, if the technical terms of the schools had turned out to be those of Christ and his apostles. To the word trinity, it would then be objected that it does not convey the idea of three persons. To the phrase trinity in unity, that it may express a threefold distinction in one being, very different from the personal distinction which Trinitarians maintain. Had the apostles spoken of three persons in one God, it would have been represented that these words, literally understood, sug. gest a contradiction ; that three persons are three beings; that three beings cannot subsist in one being ; and that therefore the language of the writer must be understood as "highly figurative. If the sacred writers had applied to Jesus Christ the scholastic appellation “God the Son," it would have been very shrewdly observed that the word Son indicates a subordinate relation, and that therefore the phrase is a denial, rather than an assertion of his supreme godhead. And lastly, Had the phrase God the Holy Ghost been used in Scripture, to any argument founded upon it, it could easily have been answered, either, first, that this is a rhetorical figure, by which only the abstract power, energy, or operation of God is meant: in proof of which the following passage would be cited, * The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee :" or, second, that by this periphrasis God simply is meant; for “God is a Spi. rit," and he is a Holy Spirit. “By God the Holy Ghost, therefore, is meant, God who is a Holy Spirit.” At this rate no terms of human invention will serve to silence a thorough Unitarian. But Mr. G. knows that, if the plain, direct, and obvious meaning of the sacred writers be allowed to be their true meaning, the doctrine of the preceding pages will want no scholastic terms for its support.
Having shown that the language of sacred Scripture is such as sufficiently accounts for the origin of the Trini. tarian doctrines, it is not very necessary to seek their origin in the volumes of ecclesiastical history. After this, to enter with the Socinians into a discussion of the opi. nions of the early Christians cannot justly be demanded;
and, if not done with caution, would be to betray the cause of truth, by removing it from its proper foundation. In this discussion the question is, What is the doctrine of the Old and of the New Testament? The sacred writers lie open to all; whereas the Christian fathers are known to comparatively few. Hence an appeal to the former may be generally considered in the light of an argument which carries conviction to every honest mind; but an appeal to the latter is, in most cases, little better than a naked assertion, to ascertain the truth of which, the reader must depend on the judgment and integrity of the writer. The former are incomparably the best authorities. Their credit is justly established on the basis of divine inspiration; while that of the latter is often at the best but dubious. The first age of the Christian church produced but few writers whose works have descended with unquestionable proof of their genuineness; and of hose W none bave written professedly on the subjects now under discussion. The consequence is, that little satisfaction is to be derived from their testimony; and every man feels himself at liberty to accommodate their language to his own precon. ceived opinion. This fact is confirmed by Mr. G.'s lectures, in which, to prove that the mere humanity of Sesus Christ was maintained by them, he has been able only to cull a few passages such as the writings of any modern Trinitarian would plentifully afford to prove that they believed his proper humanity : in which he has cited certain expressions indicative of the distinction and rela. tion between the Father and the Son, such as Athanasius himself would not have rejected :* but in which he has exhibited from those fathers nothing which has the most distant appearance of a denial of supreme divinity to Jesus Christ. The few passages of those early writers, which give countenance to a doctrine on wbich they were not professedly writing, either are torn in pieces on the rack of criticism, or, because other passages of a similar kind have been interpolated, are cancelled as interpolations. If the Scriptures themselves do not afford satis factory evidence of the doctrines which they contain, the case is therefore desperate. When we descend to later ages, we meet with writers enow on these subjects ; but their testimony is not admitted because they were not the immediate disciples of the apostles. But if their testi. mony were admitted, and their scholastic terms were canonized, the men who can set aside the testimony of the apostles, and make the more appropriate terms of Scripture speak their own language, can, with equal ease, enlist the metaphysical fathers of the fourth century under the banner of Socinus, and convert the Nicene and even the Athanasian creed into evidence in favour of their cause, But if we, on the other hand, could defend the doctrines of the trinity by lucid and appropriate quotations drawn from the writings of all the Christian fathers from Cle. ment to Athanasius, unless we could prove them from Christ and his apostles, all our authors must rank in the list of heretics.
* The answers already given to his citations from Scripture on the humanity of Christ are equally applicable to those from the Christian fathers.
These reasons for not resting the question on any but scriptural authority may suffice. It is not designed, how. ever, to insinuate that the primitive church was either Unitarian or neutral. While we distinguish between the words of human wisdom and the truth of God, we may have sufficient proof that the primitive church was what we call Trinitarian.
Clemens, bishop of Rome, was an eminent Christian writer of the first century, and one who had conversed with the apostles. Mr. G. has quoted from him the prin. cipal passages, among which are the following :-1. One in which he calls Jesus the Son of God: “ Thus saith the Lord, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." (Vol. ii, p. 47.) 2. Another, in which, speaking of Ja. cob, he says,
“ From him (sprang) the Lord Jesus according to the flesh :” (vol. ii, p. 48 :) words which, without a Socinian comment, imply that in another respect Jesus Christ did not spring from Jacob. This scriptural phrase (according to the flesh) indicates that Jesus Christ was not merely human : for, (1.) Where is it applied in a similar manner to any mere man? (2.) In the above passage Clemens speaks of the priests and Levites as springing from Jacob; but does not add, as in the case of our Lord, “ according to the flesh.” (3.) St. Paul has pointed out the true sense of this phrase in that antithesis