Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

means.

God the Father; of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ; by whom are all things, and we by him.”. Does this text indicate, that either of the Persons mentioned in it is not the very God ? By no

All things are of the Father, and by Christ.

But this does not suggest that those two Persons mentioned are not equally divine. They act different official parts, in the economy of redemption. But each is God. In other sacred passages we learn, that all things were made by Christ, and for him ; and by him all things consist.

The one God in this passage is contrasted with the many gods of the heathen : And the one Lord Jesus Christ, with the many pagan mediators and demigods. But nothing is implied in the text, which militates against there being a Trinity in this one God; and nothing against the Mediator's being one of these divine Persons. It teaches, what Paul (in view of the mythologiy of the pagans) asserts to Timothy ; “ There is one God; and one Mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus.” The heathen owned many gods; and many mediators, or deified heroes, on whom they depended to plead their cause with the superior gods. The Christians own but one of each ; one God; and one Mediator ; who is a man, and is at the same time the very God, as well as man. Paul says nothing here in opposition to there being a Trinity in Unity in this one God of the Christians; and nothing in opposition to

Christ's being one with God, and truly the infinite Jehovah. And throughout the oracles of truth we are assured that he is one with God, and is the true God.

The unity of God is asserted, in the Old and New Testaments, only in opposition to heathen polytheism. But with respect to a metaphysical unity, (or such an unity as to exclude a Trinity of Persons) the scriptures teach no such thing.

Is it possible then, to evade the conclusion of Trinitarians, which lies on the face of the inspired writings, that “ There are three, who bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost ; and these three are one 29

SECTION IX.

Testimonies of the primitive fathers in favor

of the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity in the Godhead ; and of the proper Divinity of Jesus Christ.

We are to call no man father upon earth. Our Christian sentiments must in all things rest on the sacred oracles. But the testimonies of the fathers soon after the commencement of the Christian era, relative to the doc

[ocr errors]

trine of the Trinity, and of the Divinity of Christ, must amount to strong circumstantial evidence relative to these points. 66 If thou knowest not, 0 thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock." In doubtful points, never be in haste to adopt novel sentiments.

To me it appears very evident, that the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, essentially as held at this day by Calvinistic Trinitari. ans, was believed from the days of the apostles. That this was the sentiment of the Church in the three first centuries, I shall now attempt to prove. But I shall previously remark, that there are some minor and nonessential differences among Trinitarians, rela. tive to the Three in the Godhead.

On so deep and sublime a subject, they have said some different things. But their differences do not materially effect the subject. On the great essential points, Trinitarians have agreed.

They have agreed, that there are three Persons in one God, in some mysterious sense ; not three Gods; nor three in the same sense, in which they are one; but in some mysterious sense three Persons in one God; and that this is the key stone to the arch of gospel salvation. Though some among the orthodox have said different things relative to the Sonship of Christ; viewing it as relating to his divine nature ; and as denoting an eternal mode of existence between the two first Persons of the Trinity; yet all (I believe) have agreed, that Christ is

1

not posterior, nor inferior to the Father ; that he never had a beginning ; that he is really God.

To take an occasion then, from the minor differences among Trinitarians, to justify the infinitely wider difference, of denying the eternal and real Deity of Jesus Christ, is very unchristian. To insinuate, that because Trinitarians differ in some things, relative to the Trinity ; therefore with equal propriety a man may take the liberty so far to dif. fer from them all, as to deny the doctrine of the Trinity, and the proper Deity of Christ, looks like using artifice to conceal, or extenuate gross error. It does not follow, that be. cause Christians say different circumstantial things concerning Christ; therefore another may, with no greater danger, deny him. There is an infinite difference between baying some different conceptions, relative to the mode of the existence of the three Persons in the Godhead ; and denying that there are three Persons in the Godhead. The Trini. tarian differences are all within the bounds of the great gospel truth, that there are, in some mysterious sense, three divine and equal Persons in the one God. But to deny the real Deity of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Ghost, is (in the opinion of Trinitarians) not only to leap these bounds, but to sap the foundation of gospel grace.

I shall now adduce some testimonies of the ancients, in favor of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the real Deity of Jesus Christ.

My quotations will be from Mosheim, Milner's Church History, Bishop Horsley's Tracts, and from Doctor M'Farland's View of Heresies; a prime authority in which is “ Dr. Jamieson's excellent vindication of the doctrine of the primitive faith concern. ing the Deity of Jesus Christ.” Bishop Horsley has shown,* that all who denied the Divinity of Christ, were, in the first ages, treated as heretics.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who immediately succeeded the apostles, in his epistle to the Ephesians, warns them, “ to beware of heresies ; to believe that Jesus Christ is God, who was incarnate ; that Christ is impassible, as he is God, and passible, as be is man.”+ Ignatius was “ a pious, a venerable man, (says Mosheim,) who was the disciple and familiar friend of the apostles.” We may conclude then, that he could not have mistaken the sentiments of the apostles, relative to the Deity of Christ. And according to Ignatius, Christ had two natures. He was really God, incapable of suffering : And he was really man, capable of suffering. And to disbelieve this, with him was heresy. Ignatius called Christ, “ the eternal Word.Did he then believe that Christ was derived, and began to exist ? To the faithful he said, “ Being stones of the Temple of your Father, prepared for the building of God, lifted up in heavenly places, by the engine of Jesus Christ, which is his cross; using the # Tracts, page 184. † View of Heresies, p. 69.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »