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C H A P. HI.
Concerning the Unity of God; and the Trinity.
THAT there is but one God, the scriptures every where assert ; and this is agreeable to reason, and the works of creation and providence, which we behold. And the contrary supposition is most absurd, and undefirable, and really involves in it infinite evil. God muft be a self existent being ; which is the same with existing necessarily : But necessary existence must be infinite, as has been shewn. Therefore there can be but one first cause, who exifts necessarily, and without beginning, for there can be but one infinite being. To suppose another, or a second, necessarily excludes the first, and to suppose the first, necessarily excludes the second, and any other infinite being. The same is evident from the confidera. tion of the divine perfections : God is infinite power, infinite wisdom : But there cannot be two or more infinite wisdoms, &c. because this is a contradiction. Infinite power is all the power there is, or can be, and is clearly inconsistent with another power distinct from that, which is also infinite. Moreover, if we make the impolfible supposition that there are two or more infinite beings, they must be perfe&tly alike in all respects, or not. If not perfectly alike and without any difference in any respect, then one or the other must be imperfe&t: for absolutely infinite perfection, admits of no variation, or difference : so that if any two beings differ in any respect,
they cannot both be absolutely perfect ; therefore cannot both be God. But if they are perfectly alike in every relpect and every thing; then they are perfectly one and the same; and the supposition destroys itself, being a direct contradiction. And there can be no possible need of more than one God; and therefore, were this polible, it is not desirable. There can really be no more existence than one infinite being, or any addition to infinite perfection and excellence; therefore no more can be desired; and nothing can be effected or done, more than
he can do. In a word, he is all fufficient, and no'addi. ptur tion can be made to this, or even conceived. n, 22 Yea, it is so far from being desirable, that there should be zehold more gods than one, were it possible, that it is molt un
und dearable, and would be the greatest evil. Such a supe 8 mul position would only tend to perplex the pious mind, xiften not knowing which of the gods he did worship, or what nite, 1 god to love and adore, or in which to put his trust. ne fill There have been those in the christian world, who have ng, in fupposed two gods, a good and an evil one. The former other the author of all good, the latter of all evil. Were it fo, ipped there must be infinite variance and opposition between other these beings, and it is impossible that the votaries of iders either could be happy. Such a belief, as the acknowl
edgement of more gods than one, is even worse than athe. reitism itself ; or rather is the worst sort of atheism ; for such
Is are really without any God.
The scriptures teach us that there are three in this one Cod. Not three Gods; for this would be a contradiction; but that this infinite being exists in such a manner, as to be three di&tinct fubástencies or persons, and yet but one God. The most express declaration of this is by the Apostle John. He says, “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : And these are One."* This is also clearly asserted by Christ himself, when he directs his
G ooi ' & * . disciples
* 1 John, v. 7.
disciples to baptize all the profelytes to christianity, " In the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost."* Baptism being a covenant transaction between God and the creature, and a folemn act of worlhip, i would be idolatry to administer it in any other name but that of the only true God. Therefore these words warrant us to believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are God, and but one God, agreeable to what : is said by the Apostle John in the above cited passage, the Word and the Son meaning the same. This is also expressed by the Apostle Paul, in his benediction or frayer, with which he concludes his second epifle to: the Corinthians. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Chrift, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy: Ghost, be with you all, Amen.”+ Hereby God must be meant, the Father, mentioned in the above cited passages ; la and this is therefore parallel to them. And divinity is ascribed to each of these ; by his blefling in each of these names, and makitig them the object of prayer.
There are many passages in the Old Testament, which are agreeable to those in the New Testament, which. have been mentioned, and represent a plurality or Trio, ity, as comprehended in the one true God: The follow ing are some of them. It is remarkable that the Hebrew word, which is generally used for God, and is so translati ed, is commonly put in the plural, and not in the fin gular number. There is an instance of it the fire time it is used in the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." And agreeable to this, it is said, “ Remember thy Creators.”I It i tranlated Creator, but the Hebrew word is plural. And the reason and propriety is discovered and best ex plained, by obferving that a plurality, or Trinity, is in cluded in the Creator of all things : For it is expressly and repeatedly asserted, that Jesus Christ created thi
world • Matthew, xxviii. 29. + Corinthians, xiii. 14. Eccles, xii. i... 1
-"1 world and all things in it." In the beginning was the Hals | Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word tweer was God.. All things were made by him ; and hip, il without him was not any thing made, that was nebe made.”+ " For by him (the Son of God) were all things cartas created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth.”I
Hot And creation is also ascribed to the Holy Spirit. “ And whel the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,''$ allage “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens. The Spi. is alto rit of God hath made me." Lionel - Agreeable to this, God uses words in the plural num. illet ber, when he is about to create man, and speaks as if Chrill there were a plurality of persons to do it. “And God 2 Hall faid, Let us make man, in our image, after our likebut by Dess."* And this form of speech is repeatedly used. Tages: "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become inites like one of us. And the Lord saidLet us go down, of them and there confound their language.”t.
There is a remarkable passage in the prophecy of which Ilaiah, which represents a plurality, or three in Jehovah, whid or the Lord of Hosts. The Seraphims “ cried one un. - Tri to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Follow Holts. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Jebrer Whom (hall I send, and who will go for us?". The canli plurality is here expressed by, the plural pronoun, us. he is "Who will go for us?” And the Trinity is expressed se fill by uâng the word holy three times successively ; of
Gal which there is no instance of the kind in the Bible, when recall a fingle person, which is in no sense plural, is addressed.
Hii There is an instance of the same, indeed, when the same
All Being is addressed by the living creatures which John eft eru law and heard. “And they rest not day and night, fay
is iting, Holy, holy, boly, Lord God Almighty, which was, Grelsis and is, and is to come.". But that a plurality and a -d the G2 .
Trinity, 01ldt Jahn, i. 1, 3. Col. i. 16. Gen. i. 2. Job, xxvi. 13.—xxxiii. 4. 31. 12' Gea. in 26. 7 Gen. ii. 23.-xi. 6, 7. Chap. yi: 38. $ Rev. iv. &.
Trinity, comprehended in Jehovah, is designed to be ex. pressed here by these words, is confirmed and made certain, by the reference which is made to this passage, in the New Testament. All will grant that he who is called the Father, in the New Testament, when joined with the Son or Word, and the Holy Ghost; is intended or included in the word j'éhovah, or the Lord of Hofts, in this passage in Isaiah. And the Apostle John, refering to it, says, " These things laid Ifaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” That is, of jesus Chrift.* The Apostle Paul, when he quotes fome of the words of this same passage in Isaiah, says, “Well spake the Holy Ghost, by Isaiah the Prophet, unto our fathers."t. So that the glory of Jehovah was the glory of the Son, or
Jesus Christ; and what was spoken of the Lord of Hosts, was spoken of Christ the Son of God. And what the Lord of Hofts said by Ilaiah, the Holy Ghost Paid. It is hence certain, that these three, the Father, the Son, or the Word, and the Holy Ghost, into whose name chrifa tians are baptized, and in whole name the Apostles blerfed, and who bear record in heaven, were included in the vision which Isaiah had of the Lord of Holts. And who that attends to this fcriptural view of the case, can doubt when it is said, Who will go for us? the plurality of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is intended; and that when the Seraphim adored the Lord of Hofts, and cried saying, Holy, holy, holy, there is reference to those three.
From the passages of scripture which have been now mentioned, to prove there is a plurality or Trinity in the one true God, it is also proved that the Word, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is God, and as really, and as much included in the Deity, in Jehovah, as is the Father: And that this is equally true of the Ho!y Ghost. But the evidence of the real divinity of Jesus Christ, will appear John, xii. 41. .
† Acts, xxviii. 25..