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explanation. This he has not done, nor pretended to do. All he has done, is to resort to the degrading expedient of insisting that Trinitarians do mean what they most unequivocally affirm, they do not mean. By thus af. fixing a meaning of his own to their terms, in direct contradiction to their explanation, he has succeeded in the redoubtable exploit of shewing that downright absurdity belongs to a chimera of his own invention This leaves the doctrine of the Trinity just where he found it. And here it will remain, until Mr. C. or the Reviewer, or some other Unitarian, shall so find out the Almighty to perfection, as to be able to tell us, and to prove that they truly tell us, that there is not, and cannot be such a distinction in the divine nature, as Mr. S. contends for. Till they do this, all they have said, and all they can say on the absurdity of the doctrine, must be regarded as a gross and wilful misrepresentation. The next point of inquiry is the absurdity charged on the doctrine of the twofold nature of Christ. After speaking of this doctrine as a corruption of Christianity alike repugnant to common sense, and to the general strain of the Scriptures, Mr. C. says,
According to this doctrine, Jesus Christ instead of being one mind, one conscious intelligent o: whom we can understand, consists of two souls, two minds; the one divine, the other human; the one weak, the other Almighty; the one ignorant, the one omniscient. Now we maintain, that this is to make Christ two beings. To denominate him one person, one being, and yet to suppose him made up of two minds, infinitely different from each other, is to abuse and confound language, and to throw darkness over all our conceptions of intelligent natures. According to the common doctrine, each of these two minds in Christ has its own consciousness, its own will, its own perceptions. They have in fact no common properties. The divine mind feels none of the wants and sorrows of the human, and the human is infinitely removed from the perfection and happiness of the divine. Can you conceive of two beings in the universe more distinct 2 We have always thought that one person was constituted and distinguished by one consciousness
Vol 3.-No. III. 18
The doctrine, that one and the same person should have two consciousnesses, two wills, two souls, infinitely different from each other, this we think an enormous tax on human credulity.—p. 19.
The Reviewer has discussed the same topic, but we are unable to discover any addition to the argument of Mr. C. Let us then hear Mr. Stuart.
How shall any man decide, a priori, that the doctrine cannot be true Can we limit the omniscient and omnipotent God, by saying that the Son cannot be so united with human nature, so “become flesh and dwell among us," that we recognize and distinguish, in this complex being, but one person, and therefore speak of but one * If you ask me how such a union can be effected, between natures so infinitely diverse as the divine and human; I answer, (as in the case of the distinction in the Godhead,) l do not know how this is done; I do not undertake to define wherein that union consists, nor how it is effected. God cannot divest himself of his essential perfections, i.e. he is immutably perfect; nor could the human nature of Christ have . continued to be human nature, if it had ceased to be subject to the infirmities, and sorrows, and affections of this nature, while he dwelt among men. In whatever way, then, the union of the two natures was effected, it neither destroyed, not essentially changed either the divine or human nature.
Hence, at one time, Christ is represented as the Creator of the Universe; and at another, as a man of sorrows, and of imperfect knowledge. (John i. 1–18. Heb. i. 19–12. Luke xxii. 44, 45, ii. 52) If both of these accounts are true, he must, as it seems to me, be God omniscient and omnipotent ; and still a feeble man of inperfect . It is indeed impossible to reconcile these two things, without the supposition of two natures. The simple question then is; Can they be joined or united, so that in speaking of them, we may say the person is God, or man; or we may call him by one single name, and by this understand, as designated, either or both of these natures? On this subject, the religion of nature says nothing. Reason has nothing to say ; for surely no finite being is competent to decide, that the junction of the two natures is impossible or absurd. pp. 52, 53.
Nor is there any created object, to which the union of Godhead with humani. § can be compared. But shall we deny the o of it, on this account 2 Or shall we tax with absurdity, that which it is utterly beyond our reach to scan I shrink from such an undertaking, and place
myself in the attitude of listening to what the voice of Revelation may dictate, in regard to this. It becomes us here to do so; to prostrate ourselves before the Father of Lights, and say, Speak, Lord, for thy servants hear. Lord what wilt thou have us to believe —pp. 54.
Nothing is plainer than that Unitarians in asserting the impossibility of the twofold nature of Christ, assume that any departure from the mode in which philosophy decides that beings exist, is to be regarded as palpable absurdity. But is such an assumption authorized 2 Is what God has done in certain cases the limit of what he can do P Because so far as mere philosophy has made any discovery, God has never united two human souls with one body, or because he has never united an angel and a man in one individual, are we authorized to assert that such a union cannot be produced by the Almighty P Would such an union in a single instance made known by a revelation from God; “throw darkness over all our conceptions of intelligent natures?” Is Mr. C. or the Reviewer competent to affirm what union of beings of different orders can and cannot be effected by omnipotence, or of what union with creatures, God himself is or is not capable 2 If they are, then it becomes us to listen to their assertions on the point before us; but if they are not, then all their allegations of absurdity, brought against the union of humanity and divinity in the Lord Jesus Christ, are the assertions of mere ignorance. But says Mr. C. “we have always thought, &c.”— “This we think is an enormous tax on human credulity.” And what does this prove : Nothing, unless the thoughts of Mr. C. and his party are ample authority for the faith of other men; nothing we may add, unless what they have always thought and still think, is sufficient authority for rejecting the plain declarations of God. But we wish to present the subject in another light. The fact asserted in the doctrine, that the Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man, we regard as a miraculous fact, as the
most stupendous of miracles. Is it then to be reasoned against on the principles of philosophy? Is it to be judged of by reasoning from the natural constitution of things P Would it be legitimate reasoning to attempt by the received principles of philosophy to prove the miracles of the Gospel to be fictitious, and are we with David Hume, to deny that Christ raised the dead by a word, because this is unphilosophical ? Surely such reasoning does not become the believer in Christianity. We admit the premises of the Unitarian, but we pronounce their connexion with his conclusion, palpable and arbitrary assumption. The very statement of the argument and of the analogy on which it rests, is enough to detect its fallacy. All other men are mere men, therefore Christ Jesus is a mere man. On such assumption rests the bold, and reiterated allegations of absurdity against the union of divinity and humanity in the Messiah : and to make them “we think is an enormous tax” on human presumption.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
We now come to the second general topic, viz. the testimony of the scriptures to the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pledge which we are to redeem is, that here also the argument is wholly with Mr. Stuart. So far as Mr. C. or the Reviewer rejects the Trinitarian import of texts on the ground of absurdity, we shall consider our previous remarks as superseding the necessity of any further notice of their objections.
Mr. C. remarks, that “in looking through the Gospels of Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, we meet no instance in which Christ is called God.” Mr. S. replies thus:–
Why should you say in the third paragraph of your note, that in looking through “Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you meet with no instance in which Christ is called God?" Are there no proofs here of his omniscience, of his omnipotence, of his anthority to forgive sin, of his supreme, legislative right? And are not these things better proof of his divine nature than a mere name can be 2–p. 115.
The first passage adduced by Mr. Stuart, in proof of the divinity of Christ, is John i. 1. “In the beginning was the word, (Logos) and the word was with God, and the word was God.” His argument, which is a masterly exhibition of clear and forcible reasoning, is designed to establish two positions. I. That the Logos is a person, and not an attribute of God, as maintained by Dr. Priestly; since it would be trifling, in the last degree, for the Evangelist to instruct his readers that the attributes of a being are with that being; and positively false to affirm that a single attribute of the divine nature is God. ll. That the Logos is called God in the proper and highest sense of the term; because an inferior sense is not authorized by the usage of the New Testament, nor even of the Old, except in a few instances, where the meaning is so clearly limited by the context, as to preclude the possibility of mistake. To this evidence, which we think amply sufficient of itself, Mr. Stuart adds the decisive fact, (on which he chiefly insists) that the meaning of the word God in this passage, is defined by a description of the Logos in the third verse, as the Creator of all things. If He be not therefore the supreme God, we have neither from reason nor revelation, the slightest knowledge of such a being. Mr. Channing and the Reviewer, while they reject the orthodox interpretation of this passage, are fatally at variance with each other. The former maintains that the Logos is a distinct being, and denominated God in a lower sense of the term ; the latter contends that the Logos is not a distinct being, and that the word God is used in its highest and appropriate meaning. It is thus that in the interpretation of every part of the scriptures, the two great divisions of the Unitarian party are continually em
ployed in destroying each others labors. Every blow aimed at the Orthodox, is equally fatal to themselves; and if they could succeed in undermining the foundation on which the church has reposed for ages, they must fight over the ruins until one party or the other perish in the conflict. In denying to the Logos the title of God in the highest sense of the term, Mr. Channing’s argument overlooks the fact that the meaning of the word is defined in the third verse, by a description of Him as the Maker of all things. He must therefore abandon the lower sense of the term, or maintain, in opposition to the Apostle, that He who made all things “is not truly God.” The Reviewer bestows much labor on the passage before us; and raises so much learned dust from the pages of Philo, the Platonists, and Gnostics, that if his readers are not blinded to the simple meaning of the Evangelist, it will be no fault of his. He has not, however, given us one particle of proof (and yet the fact is essential to his argument) that the introduction to St. John's Gospel, has the slightest reference to these archheretics, who are thus dragged to the judgment seat of the Evangelist to receive sentence of condemnation. “He “thinks,”“we may suppose,”“probably,” St. John “was not ignorant on these subjects;” but not one particle of proof even to that point; much less to the existence of any design on the part of the Evangelist to correct those errors. Now it is incredible that a man of sense, that an inspired Apostle, should come forward to oppose the most alarming errours on the fundamental doctrine of religion, the unity of God, without making known his intention; without pointing out those errours too clearly to be misunderstood; and meeting them with a direct and formal refutation. Was St. John thus backward to disclose his object, thus exquisitely tender as to the feelings of the erroneous, when he reproved the seven churches of . Asia 3 We might then dismiss the
Reviewer’s argument, until he proves, and not merely asserts the Evangelist's intention to oppose the errours of Philo. But since he will have it so, let us look somewhat farther into his reasoning. A prevailing errour of the age, according to the Reviewer, was the personification of the divine power, under the name of Logos. And how does the Evangelist go about to correct this errour? Truly, on the Reviewer's interpretation, by falling into it himself—by speaking of the divine power displayed in creation, &c. under the appellation of “Logos;” by affirming that “all things were made by it;” that it “was made flesh and dwelt among us;” and that “we beheld its glory as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” All this of an attribute of God! But, says the Reviewer, the errour was in supposing this attribute to be “resident in, and exercised by, or through an inferior or intermediate being.” “This the Evangelist means to deny, and hence the language which he adopts in declaring that the Logos or divine power was with God, and was God.”— What sect of heretics then, existed in the time of St. John, who maintained that the power of God was not with Him, but with another being P Not the followers of Philo, for according to the Reviewer's own statement, the Logos of Philo was himself a being, and of course was not the divine power. Not the Gnostics, for they too, in the words of the Reviewer, “gave the name of Logos to one of that class of beings called Æons.” Where then shall we look for those singular heretics who needed to be assured with so much emphasis that the power of God resided with God? It is a question which the Reviewer ought in common kindness to have answered, since he appears to know ; for it had greatly perplexed Mr. Stuart in his
Letters, and the Reviewer was em
ployed in the friendly office of enlightning his ignorance. Until, therefore, “a local habitation and a name” can be found for those who held the doe
trine of a powerless God, we must confess ourselves, in common with . Mr. Stuart, to be brought completely to a stand at this point in the argument; and we wait for the guidance of that ingenuity, which has so frequently made the most obstinate texts and historical records, yield to the progress of modern “improvement.” In the mean time, however, we may advert to a fortunate discovery of the Reviewer, who assures us that “the doctrine concerning the Logos as a BEING distinct from God, and intermediate between Him and His creatures, was the embryo form of the christian Trinity. The writings of Philo, by whom it was taught, were, as we have said, a favourite study of the christian fathers. This doctrine we believe it was one purpose of St. John to oppose in the introduction of his gospel.” What then were the opinions of Philo concerning this being whom he called Logos ? That he was Mediator between God and man, the only begotten son of the Father, and most intimately united to Him; that he created all things, and for this or some other reason, Philo gives him the title of God.” And how does St. John correct these alarming errours? By declaring exactly the same things in almost the same identical terms; by teaching that the Logos “was with God,” an expression denoting the greatest intimacy of union; that “his glory was as the glory of the only begotten of the Father;” that He created all things, and was truly God. Was there ever a more unfortunate attempt to correct an errour? But, says the Reviewer, the Logos spoken of by St. John, was not Philo's Logos,
* Wide Smith on the Messiah, in which all the important passages respecting the Logos, in the works of Philo, are collected. It is totally immaterial in what sense the Logos was styled devrogo; etc.; by Phi; lo; whether denoting the second person of the Godhead, as some maintain, or a second and inferior being partaking of the divine nature. All that is essential to our argument, is the fact, that the title God was applied to him by Philo.
but the poteer of God personified in action. And how were the followers of Philo to know that John had affirmed of Æis Logos exactly the same things which they had always believed of theirs. And yet the Evangelist requires them to understand him as speaking of a totally different thing, and designs these very words as a sharp rebuke to them for their erFours! But were they so understood in the early ages of the church On the contrary, did not the Valentinians, a sect of the Gnostics, make great use of this passage to defend their doctrines?" "The adoption of language so open to misconstruction– *"ery phraseology respecting the *** which had been employed by *** describe his intermediate be*ē, led Logos, is the strongest Pole proof that St. John had no reference to the opinions of that **, or of the Gnostics. Had he been employed in correcting their ero: would certainly have used . * Euarded and explicit, as to : *he possibility of misconlos Logos as used by St. He o: *ienote one of three things. joer a divine person, or a tributepe **or to God, or a divine attain, and oiled. The first we mainis then o e Reviewer denies. He Is St. jose ted with this alternative. any o *sed the word Logos with the lango to the opinions of Philo, unguo which he adopted was so he would to that he must have foreseen tics to giv e understood by the Gnoserrorso Yo a direct sanction to their ... M. o.o. we may add, the errours Logos as inning, who considers the character eing of an intermediate on the thi If the Reviewer insists makes Hi *a sense of Logos and on the power of God in acformer di it for the solution of the "tticulty—the discovery of that namel - - that the o sect who maintained resident *ttributes of a being are not - Lito With himself. Until that Ho autem quia Valentino sunt, eo, quod
est *Sundum l - - oannen (evangelio) plenis- *me mentes. . gelio) p
sect be found he is totally at a stand; and both Philo and the Gnostics, according to the Reviewer's own statement of their opinions, have nothing to do in the case. Our readers will now decide whether these unfounded assertions and palpable contradictions, have done any thing to shake the weighty argument of Mr. Stuart. Heb. i. 10. “And, thou Lord,” &c. is next cited by Mr. Stuart, as applying to Christ the title of Jehovah, and ascribing to him creative power. The Reviewer contents himself with expressing his belief that not Christ but the Father is addressed in this passage; but ventures no argument in support of his opinion. As a fair reasoner he was bound to do more; for Mr. Stuart had stated in strong terms, that the laws of grammar and the nature of the Apostle's argument, forbid this forcible divulsion of the tenth verse from the preceding and subsequent context. This statement is either true or false. If the Reviewer will have it to be false, he must prove his assertion; and until this is done the ground remains in possession of his antagonist. When a man who is by profession a biblical critic, leaves an argument untouched in circumstances like these, can stronger evidence be needed of his consciousness that he could not meet it P But the Reviewer perhaps relies on his quotation from Emlyn, who remarks that the passage in question though a new citation is not prefaced with “And to the Son he saith,” or with an “again,” as in some other passages. Is it then against Greek usage to connect two citations referring to the same person, by a simple “ and?” This the Reviewer will not venture to maintain, however convenient he may find it to quote Emlyn on that point. What follows in the quotation goes only to prove that the verse before us, if forcibly torn from this context and addressed to the Father, would make sense. This may be true, but the question returns, what right have you to violate the laws of grammar, and break in upon