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his master in reference to the Trinity.* He is accused of having been the first to mix up the reveries of the Platonists with the solemn truths of Christianity, but this charge cannot apply to the introduction of the word Trinity, as that word was in use in the Christian Church nearly a hundred years before his time, if not much longer.
To furnish any more examples of the use of the word Trinity in the primitive Church, would be superfluous: but to bring forward a few testimonies to show that the doctrine intended by that word, was held and taught in the earliest ages of the Christian era, cannot be unimportant: for though this doctrine is a matter of pure revelation, and must consequently derive its proofs exclusively from Scripture, yet the Christian feels a degree of satisfaction to learn that the view he takes of the doctrine was that of the Church of Christ from the beginning.
A proof of the Divinity of Christ has been always considered decisive in establishing the doctrine of the Trinity, because all who have admitted the former have also admitted the latter. We premise this remark, because some of the testimonies which we shall adduce bear more fully on that part of the subject as the turning point of the doctrine.
Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, when at the stake, addressed a prayer to God which he concluded in this manner : For all things I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify thee, together with the eternal and heavenly Jesus Christ: with whom, unto thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory, both now and for ever, world without end, Amen." Polycarp was a contemporary of the Apostles.
Justin Martyr declares, that Christ, the first-born Word of God, exists as God; that he is Lord and God, being the Son of God; and that he was the God of Israel." Again he says,— "HIM (the Father) and that SON who hath proceeded from him, and the PROPHETICAL SPIRIT, we worship and adore." He flourished in the year 140.
Melito, Bishop of Sardis, says "We are worshippers of
* "Post hæc tria jam nihil loquaris excelsum. quantuni ad Trinitatis hujus celsitudinem spectat. nisi de Patre, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto."
Omnia enim humilia sunt et dejecta Nolite ergo multiplicare loqui excelsa
one God, who is before all, and in all, in his Christ who is truly God, the Eternal Word." He flourished in the
Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, declares that Christ, as God, was adored by the Prophets; was the God of the living, and the living God; that he spake to Moses in the bush; and that the same person afterwards refuted the doctrine of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection of the dead :-He farther says, that Abraham learned divine truth from the Logos, or Word of God." He flourished in the year 178.
Athenagoras says:-"The Mind and Word of God is the Son of God: We, who preach God, preach God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one." He flourished in the year 178.
Clemens of Alexandria, says,-"The Logos is the Universal Architect," that is the Maker of all things. "The Logos is the Creator of men, and of the world; and in prayer he addresses both the Son and the Father, saying,-"Son and Father, both one Lord, grant that we may praise the Son, and the Father, with the Holy Ghost, ALL IN ONE." He flourished in the year 194.
Tertullian says:-"The name of Christ is every where believed, and every where worshipped. He reigns every where, and is every where adored. He is alike to all a King, and to all a Judge, And to all a GOD AND A LORD. He flourished in the year 200.
Origen states, that the Christians were accustomed to say,"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one God," and speaks of this as a difficult and perplexing doctrine to such as hear not with faith." Again he observes :-" When we come to the grace of baptism, we acknowledge one God only, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." He flourished in the year 230.
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, says,-" Christ is our God; that is, not of all, but of the faithful and believing." He flourished in the year 248.
The Council of Antioch, in its Epistle, states:-" In the whole Church Christ is believed to be GOD; and man of the seed of David according to the flesh." This Council sat in 264.
The Council of Arles expressed its opinion on the subject of
the Trinity, by declaring the baptism of such as refused to own that doctrine to be void. In a Canon drawn up concerning the proper mode of dealing with heretics on their return to the bosom of the Church, the Council put forth the general sense of the Church, in words to this effect::-"That if any relinquished their heresy, and came back to the Church, they should ask them the Creed; and if they found that they were (had been) baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, they should only receive imposition of hands, but if they did not confess the Trinity, their baptism was declared void."* This Council was held in the year 314.
We next come to the Council of Nice, which, on account of its pre-eminence, is entitled the FIRST GENERAL COUNCIL of the Christian Church. It was held at Nicæa, the metropolis of Bithynia in Asia-Minor, in the year 325. That Council drew up and established a Creed in defence and explanation of the doctrine of the Trinity, which has ever since been received in the Christian Church. It is that Creed with which the morning service of the Church of England closes every Sabbath Day. There is no controversy as to the opinions of the Christian Church on the subject of the Trinity from that Council downwards. Hence, the testimonies which we have given have been selected from what are called the Ante-Nicene Fathers the fathers who lived previous to the Council of Nice-with the view of showing the opinion of the Church respecting the Trinity from the days of the Apostles down to that Council.
Whoever will be at the pains of investigating the subject with any degree of candour must come to this conclusion,-that the Doctrine of Three Divine Persons in One God, as now held by the Church of England, was the doctrine of the Church of Christ during the first three centuries; and that those who attempted to subvert this doctrine, either by denying the proper Deity of the Son, or by asserting that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were but one person under three different names or characters, were looked upon and treated by the Christian * Stillingfleet's Vindication of the Trinity, p. 181.
Church as Heretics. Such is the opinion the learned Bishops Bull and Stillingfleet have left on record, as the result of their researches into the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and we are glad to be able to add the concurrence in part of Dr. Priestley: "He admits that all the early writers that have come down to us from Justin Martyn to Athanasius, from the middle of the second century to the middle of the fourth, were TRINITARIANS, with the solitary exception of the Author of the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions." * The Rev. Joseph Milner sums up the result of his inquiries into the subject in the following words:-" I cannot but farther conclude, that the doctrine usually called Trinitarian, was universal in the Church in those times: (middle of the third century.) Dionysius, Firmilian, Gregory, Theotecnes, seventy Bishops, the whole Christian world, were unanimous on this head; and this unanimity may satisfactorily be traced up to the Apostles." †
But suppose we grant what
It is also frequently objected by Unitarians, that the advocates of the doctrine of the Trinity differ widely among themselves as to the view which ought to be taken of it: and Dr. Drummond has furnished a list of ten authors of acknowledged reputation, as having all expressed opposite opinions on the subject. This list we have examined carefully, and find only three of the writers differing materially from each other. The rest only employ different words to express the same thing. is required that all the ten dissent from the established standards of the doctrine: What then? Will the fact of ten men disagreeing in an age on the Doctrine of the Trinity affect the unity of the faith among Trinitarians? There are twenty thousand Ministers in the Established Church of Great Britain and Ireland, not to mention tens of thousands of most intelligent lay members-surely we can afford to give up one in every two or three thousand that may wish to speculate on the subject, without disturbing the unity of the faith. The fact is, there is no article in the Christian Creed on which greater unanimity prevails among Trinitarians.
* Evans's Sketch.-Aikman's Edition.-Trinitarians. † Milner's Church History, vol. I.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY PROVED AS A CONSEQUENCE FROM THE DEITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
BY THE REV. DAVID JAMES.
"BUT WHEN THE COMFORTER IS COME, WHOM I WILL SEND UNTO YOU FROM THE FATHER, EVEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, WHICH PROCEEDETH FROM THE FATHER, HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME."-John xv. 26.
In the order and distribution of subjects for this important Course of Lectures on the Unitarian heresy, I am left in charge with the Doctrine of the Trinity. My subject is expressed in the following form of words:
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY PROVED AS A CONSEQUENCE FROM THE DEITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
In drawing up the subject in this form, my Reverend Brother had in view to give the preacher to whom it should be entrusted, the privilege of assuming at the outset the proper Deity of Christ as already proved by the two immediately preceding lectures; and of proceeding at once to show, that as a plurality of persons in the Godhead is necessarily established by the proof of the proper