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JOSEPH AND BENJAMIN.
138 . JOSEPH AND BENJAMIN. (Part 2. Jehowah, Ail Elohim Jehowah, he knows. Joshua, 22: 22. And why are these mentioned twice ? because by them the world was made."
§ 4. I proceed to notice the remarkable language used by the seraphims and cherubims, and repeated daily by our people with apparent great solemnity, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." Isa. 6: 3. Permit me, my dear Benjamin, to bring to your recollection what two of our famous Rabbins, of blessed memory, have said on this passage. R. Simeon, the son of R. Yarchi, says, “ Kadosh se Av. Kadosh se Bain. Ka. dosh se Ruach llackodish, i. e. “Holy that is the Father, Holy that is the Son, Holy that is the Holy Spirit.” Jonathan Ben Uziel repeats the same in Chaldaic. Peter Galatin de Arcanis, Cath. Verit. lib. 2. c. 1 ; see also Goodwin, Moses and Aaron, L. 4. c. 8. Ant. Univ. History, vol. 3. p. 11. Another of our Rabbins says, “ There are three degrees or excellencies in God, and every one is called cavad, 1. e. glory, or panim, i, e. faces or persons; the first is called supreme glory, the second, middle glory, and the third is called latter glory; this is the mystery, &c." Bechai in Lege. fo. 124.
$ 5. The importance of the subject will, I hope, my dear Benjamin, be a sufficient apology for adding a few more testimonies from our most ancient Rabbins, to show the antiquity of this most holy and glorious doctrine. R. Menachen relates that it is the doctrine of the Yezirah, and of the Zohar, that the wisdom is called beginning, although she is but the second, Sephirah being unknown to all creatures. They also maintain that it is the Shechinah, or wisdom, which rules the world, according to Proverbs, 8. fo. 1. c. 3, and fo. 35, I.
· The author of Zohar on Leviticus, fo. 116, teaches three degrees in the Godhead. “Come," says he, “and see the mystery in the word Elohim; viz. there are three degrees, and every degree is distinct by himself; and notwithstanding they are all one, and yied in one, and one is not separated from the other.” Again, Exod. fol. 75, upon the words Deut. 6: 4, he observes, “ Thou must know that those three, (viz. Jehowak, Elohainoo, Jehovah,) are one, unum ; but it contains three modes; viz. the fire, the air, and the water; now these three are one, and the mystery of the voice and these are but one, unum ; Jehowah, Elohim, Jehowah, are one, unum.” The same author renders Deut. 6: 4. in this manner, “ The Lord, or Jehovah, and our God, and Jehovah are one. He is the beginning of all things, the ancient of ancients, the garden of roots, and the perfection of all saints; and he is called the Father. The other Elohainoo, our God, is the depth and fountain of sciences, who proceeds from the Father, and is called the $on. The next, or Jehovah, he is the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from them both, and is called the measure of the voice. He is one, so that one concludes with the other, and unites them together. And therefore he says, hear, O Israel, ii e. join together the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and make him one essence and one substance. For whatsoever is the one, is in the other. He has been the whole, he is the whole, and he will be the whole." .
On the same place. he adds, “ This is the mystery of him who was before the rocks, and is united with the head and stem and the way. By Jehovah (the first) is meant the high or first beginning; by Elohainoo, the stem, is meant the stem spoken of Isa. 11, the stem of Jesse, (the Messiah ;) by Jehovah (last) is meant the way." ..
$ 6. R. Menachem, in $epher Yezira, says, " In the cabalistic tree are ten sephiroth or members. The first is called the chief crown and the first glory, whose essence no creature can comprehend; the second is called wisdom, and the intelligence illuminating the crown of the creation, the brightness of equal unity, who is exalted above every head, and the second glory; and the third is called the sanctifying understanding, the worker and parent of faith. These
three first numbers are intellectual, and not like the other seven properties or attributes.” On the same subject it is said, “between him who produces, and those who are produced, there is no difference. He and they are all one and the same essence, in which, in three points or modes, are formed the crown, wisdom, and understanding, and in these are comprehended all the rest of the Sephiroth or numerations." · The learned Philo says, “ God attended with his tivo su. • preme powers, principality and goodness, being himself but one in the middle of these two, makes three appear. ances to the seeing soul.” De. Sacrif. ab. et cain. p. 108, B. Again he says, “ In the middle is the Father of all things; on each side of him are the two powers, the eldest and the nearest to Jehovah, whereof one is the creative power, the other is the royal power; the creative power is called God, the royal power is called Lord.” De Abrahame, p. 287. E.
R. Hay Hagaon says, " There are three lights in God, the ancient light, or Kadmon, the pure light, or Tzach, the purified light, or Metzuchtzach ; and that these three make but one God, and that there is neither plurality nor polytheism in this.” The same idea is taught by R. Shem Tov, in his book Emunoth, p. 4, c. 8, p. 32, c. 2.
The cabalists frequently distinguish the three persons by the three Hebrew personal pronouns; Ani (I) the first person, called Ensoph, or infinite, the Father; Athtah (thou) the second person, called Chochmah, or wisdom ; Hoo (he) called Binah, understanding, or Ruach Hackodesh, the Holy Spirit, by whom the prophets were inspired.
Ø 7. From the preceding statement I hope my dear Benjamin will be convinced that both the sacred Scriptures and our ancient Rabbins taught a trinity of persons in the unity of the Divine essence; and I should now proceed to point out the importance of this doctrine, but as I shall have occasion to speak of it hereafter, I will now say but a few words. . Christians, as well as our people, believe that
the first and fundamental principle of religion is, that thero is a God; secondly, that there is but one living and true God; and lastly, that religious worship and divine honors are to be paid to this one living and true God alone. Either, therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are this one living and true God, or else we transgress these fundamental laws of nature and of God every time we pray and ascribe glory to either the Son or the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of the blessed Trinity, therefore, is by no means a speculative and insignificant thing as some would persuado us it is.
“ The faith of the Holy Trinity," says the learned Dr. Sherlock, “is so fundamental to the Christian religion, that if Christianity be worth contending for, that is. For if God has not an eternal Son and an eternal Spirit, the whole mystery of our redemption by Christ, and of our sanctification by the Spirit, which, in its consequences, is the whole of the Gospel, and distinguishes it from all other religions, is utterly lost, and we are reduced again to a mere system of moral philosophy.” Simpson's Deity of Christ, p. 14.
When shall I see him face to face ;
Come, dearest Savior, quickly comc;
DISTINGUISHING MARKS OF DEITY.
Having, in the preceding letter, shown that there is a plurality of persons in the divine essence, I will now proceed to show that Jesus, the promised Messiah, is truly God. : $1. This will appear, if we consider that there are certain criteria by which the Creator is distinguished from the creature. If the peculiar marks of the human nature were to be found in brute animals, this would bring everlasting confusion into the affairs of life. Much more necessary is it, therefore, that there should be the most evident marks of distinction between God and the creature, lest we should bring the same confusion into all our religion and worship, by mistaking the creature for God, and God for the creature.
§ 2. It is generally acknowledged that it was the great object of the religion given to our fathers, to preserve in the world the worship of the true God, notwithstanding the universal tendency to idolatry among all nations. One great source of idolatry, (i. e. giving the glory to the creature which belongs to the Creator,) especially to the most ignorant part of mankind, has been the mistaking the creature for the Creator. It must, therefore, be supposed that if God has ever employed mere creatures as instruments in delivering his will, he has used the most effectual means to prevent men from apprehending that the speaker was God. We can suppose no means so obvious, nor one that